Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Great Pianists On Piano Playing Study Talks With Foremost Virtuosos"

See other formats


GREAT PIANISTS ON 
PIANO PLAYING 

STUDY TALKS WITH 
FOREMOST VIRTUOSOS 

BY 

JAMES FRANCIS COOKE 



A SERIES OF PERSONAL EDUCATIONAL CON- 
FERENCES WITH RENOWNED MASTERS 
OF THE KEYBOARD, PRESENTING THE 
MOST MODERN IDEAS UPON THE 
SUBJECTS OFTECHNIC, INTER- 
PRETATION, STYLE AND 
EXPRESSION 



THEO. PRESSER CO. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 



, 1913, BY TBEEO- I^R-RSSER Co. 



, IP 17, BY THEO- I^RJBSSEIt 



CONTENTS 

1. THE ARTIST'S LITE 5 

2. ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 24 

3. THE STORY or A WONDER-CBHD. . .Pepito Arricla 41 

4. THE PIANIST or TOMORROW Wtthetm Backaus $2 

5. ARTISTIC ASPECTS or PIANO STUDY. .Harold Bauer 64 

6. APPEARING m PUBLIC FannieBkomfidd-Zd$kr So 

7. IMPORTANT DETAILS IN PIANO STUDY Ferruccio Busoni 97 

8. DISTINCTIVE PIANO PLAYING Teresa Camfio . . .109 

9. ESSENTIALS or TOUCH Ossip GabrUowitsch . , , 122 

10. THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE or TECHNIC Leopold Godowsky 133 

11. ANALYZING MASTERPIECES Katharine Goodson 144 

i*. PROGRESS IN PIANO STUDY Josef Hofmnn 158 

13. PIANO STUDY IN RUSSIA Josef Lktoinne . ... 170 

14. SEEKING ORIGINALITY Vladimir de Pachminn.ifa 

15. MODERN PIANISTIC PROBLEMS Max Pauer 197 

16. ESSENTIALS OF ARTISTIC PLAYING. . .S. V, Rachmaninoff . . .208 

17. SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING A* Reisenaucr 222 

18. THE TRAINING or THE VIRTUOSO. . . .E.Sauer 236 

19. ECONOMY IN Music STUDY X. Scharwcnka 252 

20. LEARNING A NEW PIECE E. SchdLing 267 

21. WHAT INTERPRETATION RJCALLY Is. . 5. Stojowski 279 

22. BREADTH IN MUSICAL ART Igna* Jtm Paderewski. 290 

23. THOROUGHNESS IN HUNGARIAN Music 

STiflDY Yolando Mcro 302 

24. OPPORTUNITY AND LIMITATIONS IN 

PIANOKJRTE PLAYING Rudolph Gam , ,311 

25. UNIVERSALITY m PIANO TEACHING 

MEESODS * Ernest Butcksw 322 

26. CONCENTRATION m Music STUDY. . ,0/go Samarojf 334 

27. INSURING PROGRESS IN Music STUDY. Mark Eambwg 349 

28. MODBSNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY, .Percy Grawgcr 364 

29. PROIITABLB PRACTICE versus WASTED 

PIACUCE Alexander Lambert 383 , 

30. NEBVOTTSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING. . .Alberto Jonas 398 

3 



THE ARTIST'S LIFE 

THE VIRTUOSO'S CAREER AS IT REALLY Is 
THE father of a young woman who was preparing 
to become a virtuoso once applied to a famous musical 
educator for advice regarding the future career of his 
daughter, "I want her to become one of the greatest 
pianists America has ever produced/' he said. "She has 
talent, good health, unlimited ambition, a good gen- 
eral education, and she is industrious." The educator 
thought for awhile, and then said, "It is very likely 
that your daughter will be successful in her chosen field, 
but the amount of grinding study she will be obliged 
to undergo to meet the towering standards of modern 
pianism is awful to contemplate. In the end she will 
have the flattery of the multitude, and, let us hope, 
some of their dollars as well. In return, she may have 
to sacrifice many of the comforts and pleasures which 
women covet. The more successful she is, the more of 
a nomad she must become. She will know but few days 
for years when she will not be compelled to practice 
for hours. She becomes a kind of chattel of the musi- 
cal public. She will be harassed by ignorant critics 
and perhaps annoyed by unreliable managers* In re- 
turn she has money and fame, but, in fact, far less of 
the great joy and purpose of life than if she followed 
the customary domestic career with some splendid man 



6 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

as her husband. When I was younger I used to preach 
quite an opposite sermon, but the more I see of the 
hardships of the artist's life the less I think of the dol- 
lars and the fame it brings. It is hard enough for a 
man, but it is twice as hard for a woman." 

GOLDEN BAIT 

Some cynic has contended that the much-despised 
"Almighty Dollar" has been the greatest incentive 
to the struggling virtuoso in European music centers. 
Although this may be true in a number of cases, it is 
certainly unjust in others. Many of the virtuosos find 
travel in America so distasteful that notwithstanding 
the huge golden bait, the managers have the greatest 
difficulty in inducing the pianists to come back. In- 
deed, there are many artists of great renown whom the 
managers would be glad to coax to our country but 
who have withheld tempting offers for years. One of 
these is Moritz Moszkowski, probably the most popular 
of modern pianoforte composers of high-class music. 
Grieg, when he finally consented to make the voyage 
to America, placed his price at two thousand five hun- 
dred dollars for every concert a sum which any man- 
ager would regard prohibitive, except in the case of 
one world-famous pianist. Grieg's intent was ob- 
vious. 

The inconveniences of travel in America have been 
ridiculously exaggerated in Europe, and many vir- 
tuosos dread the thought of an American trip, with 
the great ocean yawning between the two continents, 



THE ARTIST'S LITE 7 

and red-skinned savages just beyond New York or 
certainly not far from Chicago. De Pachmann detests 
the ocean, and when he comes over in his favorite 
month of June he does not dare return until the follow- 
ing June. Others who have never visited America 
must get their idea of American travel from some such 
account as that of Charles Dickens in his unforgivable 
American Notes (1842), in which he said, in describing 
one of our railroads: 

"There is a great deal of jolting, a great deal of noise, a great deal 
of wall, not much window, a locomotive engine, a shriek and a bell. 
The cars are like shabby omnibuses holding thirty, forty, fifty people. 
In the centre of the carriage there is usually a stove, fed with charcoal 
or anthracite coal, which is for the most part red hot. It is insuf- 
ferably close, and you sec the hot air fluttering between yourself and 
any other object you may happen to look at. " 

There could have been but little improvement in our 
railroads in 1872 when Rubinstein came to America, 
for although he accepted $40,000 for 215 concerts dur- 
ing his first trip, he refused an offer of $125,000 for only 
50 concerts when a manager tried to persuade him to 
return. 

American railroads now present the acme of com- 
fort, convenience, and even luxury in travel, yet the 
European artist has difficulty in adjusting himself to 
journeys of thousands of miles crowded in a short 
winter season when he has been accustomed to little 
trips of a few hundred kilometers. He comes to dread 
the trains as we might a prison van. Paderewski re- 
sorts to a private car, but even this luxurious mode of 
travel may be very monotonous and exhausting, 



3 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

The great distances must certainly account for some 
of the evidences of strain which deform the faces and 
exhaust the minds of so many virtuosos. The travel- 
ing salesman seems to thrive upon miles of railroad 
travel as do the crews of the trains, but the virtuoso, 
dragged from concert to concert by his showman, 
grows tired oh, so tired, pale, wan, listless and indif- 
ferent! At the beginning of the season he is quite 
another person. The magnetism that has done so much 
to win him fame shines in his eyes and seems to ema- 
nate from his finger-tips, but the difference in his physi- 
cal being at the end of the season is sickening. Like 
a bedraggled, worn-out circus coming in from the wear 
and tear of a hard season, he crawls wearily back to 
New York with a cinematographic recollection of 
countless telegraph poles flying past the windows, au- 
dience after audience, sleeping cars, budding geniuses, 
the inevitable receptions with their equally inevitable 
chicken salad or lukewarm oysters, and the "sweet 
young things," who, like Heine's mythical tribe of 
Asra, must love or perish. Some virtuosos have the 
physical strength to endure all this, even enjoy it, but 
many have confessed to me that their American tours 
have been literal nightmares. 

One of the greatest pianists was obliged to stay in 
New York for a while before attempting the voyage 
homeward. At the time he was so weak from the rigors 
of the tour that he could scarcely write his name. His 
haggard face suggested the tortures of a Torquamada 
rather than Buffalo, Kansas City, Denver and Pitts- 



THE ARTIST'S LITE 9 

burgh. His voice was tired and faltering, and his chief 
interest was that of the invalid getting home as soon 
as possible. To have talked with him upon music at 
that time would have been an injustice. Accord- 
ingly, I led him away from the subject and dwelt 
upon the woes of his native Poland, and, much to his 
surprise, left him without the educational material 
of which I had been in quest. He asked the reason, 
and I told him that a musical conference at that time 
could serve no purpose. 

As men and women, aside from the attainments 
which have made them illustrious, virtuosos are for 
the most part very much like ordinary mortals who 
have to content themselves at the foot of Parnassus. 
It has been my privilege to know thirty or more of 
the most eminent artists, and some have become 
good personal friends. It is interesting to observe 
how several very different types of individuals may 
succeed In. winning public favor as virtuosos. Indeed, 
except for the long-haired caricature which the 
public accepts as the conventional virtuoso there is 
no "virtuoso type." Here is a business man, here 
an artist, here an engineer, here a jurist, here an actor, 
here a poet and here a freak, all of them distinguished 
performers. Perhaps the enthusiastic music-lover 
will resent the idea of a freak becoming famous as a 
pianist, but I have known no less than three men who 
could not possibly be otherwise described, but who 
have nevertheless made both fame and fortune as 
virtuosos. 



10 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

FREAK PIANISTS 

The anthropologist who chooses to conduct special 
investigations of freaks can find no more entertaining 
field than that of the remarkable freaks of the brain, 
shown in the cases of some astonishing performers 
whose intelligence and mental capacity in other ways 
has been negligible. The classic case of Blind Tom, 
for instance, was that of a freak not so very far re- 
moved in kind from the Siamese Twins, or General 
Tom Thumb. Born a slave in Georgia, and wholly 
without what teachers would term a musical education, 
Blind Tom amazed many of the most conservative 
musicians of his time. It was possible for him to re- 
peat difficult compositions after hearing them played 
only once. I conversed with him a number of years 
ago in New York, only to find that intellectually and 
physically he was allied to the cretin. 

Blind Tom's peculiar ability has led many hasty 
commentators to conclude that music is a wholly 
separate mental faculty to be found particularly in a 
more or less shiftless and irresponsible class of gifted 
but intellectually limited human beings. The few 
cases of men and women whose musical talent seems 
to eclipse their minds so that they remain in utter 
darkness to everything else in life, should not be taken 
as a basis for judging other artists of real genius and 
undisputed mental breadth. I have in mind, however, 
the case of one pianist who is very widely known and 
highly lauded, but who is very slightly removed from 



THE ARTIST'S LITE n 

the class of Blind Tom. A trained alienist, one 
acquainted with the difference between the eccen- 
tricities which frequently accompany greatness and 
the unconscious physical and psychical evidences of 
idiocy which so clearly agree with the antics of the 
chimpanzee or the droll Capuchin monkeys, might 
find in the performer to whom I refer a subject for 
some very interesting, not to say startling reflections. 
Few have ever been successful in inducing this pianist 
to talk upon any other subject than, music for more 
than a few minutes at a time. Another pianist, who 
was distinguished as a Liszt pupil, and who toured 
America repeatedly, seemed to have a hatred for the 
piano that amounted to an obsession. "Look," 
he exclaimed, "I am its slave. It has sent me round 
and round the world, night after night, year after 
year. It has cursed me like a wandering Jew. No 
rest, no home, no liberty. Do you wonder that I 
drink to forget it?" 

A PATHETIC EXAMPLE 

And drink he did in Bacchanalian measure! One 
time he gave an unconscious exhibition of his technical 
ability that, while regrettable, would have been of im- 
mense interest to psychologists who are seeking to 
prove that music depends upon a separate operation 
of a special " faculty." During his American tours I 
called frequently upon this virtuoso for the purpose of 
investigating his method of playing. He was rarely 
free from the influence of alcohol for more than a few 



12 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

hours at a time. One morning it was necessary for 
me to see him professionally, and when I found him 
at his hotel he was in a truly disgraceful condition. I 
remember that he was unable to stand, from the fact 
that he fell upon me while I was sitting in a Morris 
chair. He was barely able to talk, and just prior to 
my leaving he insisted upon scrawling upon his visit- 
ing card, "Zur freundlichen Errinerung, auf einen 
sehr spaten Abend. " (Friendly remembrances of a 
very late evening.) Since it was still very early in the 
morning, it may be realized that he had lost all idea of 
his whereabouts. Nevertheless, he sat at the piano 
keyboard and played tremendously difficult composi- 
tions by Liszt and Brahms compositions which com- 
pelled his hands to leap from one part of the keyboard 
to the other as in the case of the Liszt Campaiidla. 
He never missed a note until he lost his balance upon 
the piano stool and fell to the floor. Disgusting and 
pathetic as the exhibition was, I could not help feeling 
that I was witnessing a marvelous instance of au- 
tomatism, that wonderful power of the mind working 
through the body to reproduce, apparently without 
effort or thought, operations which have been repeated 
so many times that they have become "second nature. " 
More than this, it indicated clearly that while the 
better part of the man's body was "dead to the 
world," the faculty he had cultivated to the highest 
extent still remained alive. Some years later this 
man succumbed to alcoholism. 



THE ARTIST'S LIFE 13 

THE PIANIST or TO-DAY 

Contrasted with a type of this kind may be men- 
tioned such men as Sauer, Rachmaninov, d'Albert, 
Paderewski, Godowsky, Bachaus, Rosenthal, Pauer, 
Joseffy, Stojowski, Scharwenka, Gabrilowitsch, Hof- 
mann, Bauer, Lhevinne, to say nothing of the ladies, 
Bloomfield-Zeisler, Carreno, Goodson, et d., many of 
whom are intellectual giants. Most all are exceed- 
ingly regular in their habits, and at least two are strong 
temperance advocates. Intellectually, pianists of 
this class represent a very remarkable kind of men- 
tality. One is impressed with the surprising quick- 
ness with which their brains operate even in ordinary 
conversation. Speaking in alien languages, they 
find comparatively little difficulty in expressing them- 
selves with rapidity and fluency. Very few great 
singers ever acquire a similar case. These pianists 
are wonderfully well read, many being acquainted 
with the literature of three or more tongues in the 
original. Indeed, it is not unusual to find them skip- 
ping through several languages during ordinary con- 
versation without realizing that they are performing 
linguistic feats that would put the average college 
graduate to shame* They are familiar with art, 
science, politics, manufactures,- even in their most 
recent developments. "What is your favorite type 
of a&roplane?" asked one some years ago in the 
kindergarten days of cloud navigation. I told him 
that I had made no choice, since I had never seen a 



14 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

flying machine, despite the fact that I was a native 
of the country that gave it birth. He then vouch- 
safed his opinions and entered into a physical and 
mechanical discussion of the matter, indicating that 
he had spent hours in getting the whole subject 
straightened out in his mind. This same man, a 
German, knew whole cantos of the Inferno by heart, 
and could repeat long scenes from King Lear with a 
very creditable English accent. 

The average American "tired business man" who is 
inclined to look upon the touring virtuoso as "only a 
pianist" would be immensely surprised if he were 
called upon to compare his store of "universal" 
information with that of the performer. He would 
soon see that his long close confinement behind the 
bars of the dollar sign had made him the intellectual 
inferior of the musician he almost ignores. But it is 
hardly fair to compare these famous interpreters 
with the average "tired business man." They are 
the Cecil Rhodes, the Thomas Edisons, the Maurice 
Maeterlincks of their fields. It is easy enough to find 
musicians of smaller life opportunities basking in their 
ignorance and conceit. 

While the virtuoso may be described as intellectual 
in the broader sense of the term, he usually has a 
great fear of becoming academic. He aspires to be 
artistic rather than scholarly. He strives to elevate 
rather than to teach in the strictly pedagogical 
sense. Some of the greatest performers have been 
notoriously weak as teachers* They do not seek the 



THE ARTIST'S LIFE 15 

walls of the college, neither do they long for the cheap 
Bohcmianism that so many of the French feuilletonists 
delight in describing. (Why should the immorality 
of the artist's-life be laid at the doors of fair Bohemia?) 
The artist's life is wrapped up in making his readings 
of master works more significant, more eloquent, 
more beautiful. He is interested in everything that 
contributes to his artistry, whether it be literature, 
science, history, art or the technic of his own inter- 
pretative development. He penetrates the various 
mystic problems which surround piano playing by the 
infallible process of persistent study and reflection. 
The psychical phase of his work interests him im- 
mensely, particularly the phenomena of personal at- 
tractionoften called magnetism. 

THE MAGIC OF MAGNETISM 
Magnetism is surely one of the most enviable pos- 
sessions of the successful pianist. Just what magne- 
tism is and how it comes to be, few psychologists 
attempt to relate. We all have our theories, just 
why one pianist who often blunders as readily as a 
Rubinstein, or who displays his many shortcomings at 
every concert can invariably draw larger audiences 
and arouse more applause than his confrere with 
weaker vital forces, although he be admittedly a bet- 
ter technician, a more highly educated gentleman 
and perhaps a more sensitive musician. 

Charles Frohman, keenest of theatrical producers, 
attributed the actor's success to "vitality," and in 



1 6 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

doing this he merely chose one of the weaker synonyms 
of magnetism. Vitality in this sense does not imply 
great bodily strength. It is rather soul-strength, 
mind-strength, life-strength. Professor John D . Quack- 
enbos, A.M., M.D., formerly of Columbia Uni- 
versity, essays the following definition of magnetism 
in his excellent Hypnotic Therapeutics: 

"Magnetism is nothing more than earnestness and sincerity, 
coupled with insight, sympathy, patience and tact. These QF$C nlials 
cannot be bought and cannot be taught. They arc 'born by nature/ 
they are dyed with 'the red ripe of the heart > " 

But Dr. Quackenbos is a physician and a philoso- 
pher. Had he been a lexicographer he would have 
found the term magnetism far more inclusive. lie 
would at least have admitted the phenomenon which 
we have witnessed so often when one possessed with 
volcanic vitality overwhelms a great audience. 

The old idea that magnetism is a kind of invisible 
form of intellectual or psychic electricity has gone 
down the grotesque phrenological vagaries of Gall as 
well as some of the pseudoscientific theories of that 
very unusual man, Mesmer. We all possess what is 
known as magnetism. Some have it in an unusual 
degree, as did Edwin Booth, Franz Liszt, Phillips 
Brooks and Bismarck. It was surely neither the 
art nor the ability of Daniel Webster that made his 
audiences accept some of his fatuous platitudes as 
great utterances, nor was it the histrionic talent 
alone of Richard Mansfield that enabled him to wring 
success from such an obvious theatrical contraption 



THE ARTIST'S LIFE 17 

as Prince Karl Both Webster, with his fathomless 
eyes and his ponderous voice, and Mansfield, with his 
compelling personality, were exceptional examples of 
magnetism. 

A NOTABLE EXAMPLE 

Among virtuosos Paderewski is peculiarly forceful 
in the personal spell he casts over his audience. 
Someone has said that it cost one hundred thousand 
dollars to exploit his hair before he made his first 
American tour. But it was by no means curiosity 
to see his hair which kept on filling auditorium after 
auditorium. I attended his first concert in New 
York, and was amazed to see a comparatively small 
gathering of musical zealots. His command of the 
audience was at once imperial. The critics, some of 
whom would have found Paderewski's hirsute crown 
a delightful rack upon which to hang their ridicule, 
went into ecstasies instead. His art and his striking 
personality, entirely apart from his appearance, soon 
made him the greatest concert attraction in the musi- 
cal world. Anyone who has conversed with him for 
more than a few moments realizes what the meaning 
of the word magnetism is. His entire bearing his 
lofty attitude of mind, his personal dignity all con- 
tribute to the inexplicable attraction that the arch 
hypnotist Mesmer first described as animal magnetism. 

That magnetism of the pianist must be considered 
wholly apart from personal beauty and great physical 
strength is obvious to anyone who has given the 



1 8 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

subject a moment's thought. Many of the artists 
already mentioned (in this book) who possess magnet- 
ism similar to that of Paderewski could surely never 
make claim for personal beauty. Neither is mag- 
netism akin to that attraction we all experience when 
we see a powerful, well-groomed horse, a sleek hound, 
a handsome tiger that is, it is not mere admiration 
for a beautiful animal. Whether it has any similarity 
to the mysterious charm which makes the doomed 
bird lose control of its wings upon the approach of a 
snake is difficult to estimate. Certainly, in the 
paraphernalia of the modern recital with its lowered 
lights and its solitary figure playing away at a polished 
instrument one may find something of the physical 
apparatus employed by the professional hypnotist 
to insure concentration but even this can not 
account for the pianist's real attractiveness. If 
Mr. Frohman's "vitality" means the "vital spark/' 
the "life element," it comes very close to a true 
definition of magnetism, for success without this 
precious Promethean force is inconceivable. It may 
be only a smouldering ember in the soul of a dying 
Chopin, but if it is there it is irresistible until it be- 
comes extinct. Facial beauty and physical prowess 
all made way for the kind of magnetism that Socrates, 
George Sand, Julius Caesar, Henry VIII, Paganiru, 
Emerson, Dean Swift or Richard Wagner possessed. 
More wonderful still is the fact that magnetism is 
by no means confined to those who have finely trained 
intellects or who have achieved great reputations. 



IHE ARTIST'S LITE 19 

Some vaudeville buffoon or some gypsy fiddler may 
have more attractive power than the virtuoso who had 
spent years in developing his mind and his technic. 
The average virtuoso thinks far more of his "geist," 
his "talent" (or as Emerson would have it, "the 
shadow of the soul the otherwise") than he does of 
his technic, or his cadenzas. By what mystic means 
magnetism may be developed, the writer does not 
pretend to know. Possibly by placing one's deeper 
self (shall we say "subconscious self") in closer 
communion with the great throbbing problems of the 
invisible though perpetually evident forces of nature 
which surround us we may become more alive, more 
sensitively vivified. What would it mean to the 
young virtuoso if he could go to some occult master, 
some seer of a higher thought, and acquire that lode- 
stone which has drawn fame and fortune to the blessed 
few? Hundreds have spent fortunes upon charlatans 
in the attempt. 

All artists know the part that the audience itself 
plays in falling under the magnetic spell of the per- 
former. Its connection with the phenomena of auto- 
suggestion is very clear. Dr. Wundt, the famous 
German psychologist, showed a class of students how 
superstitions unconsciously acquired in early life 
affect sensible adults who have long since passed the 
stage at which they might put any credence in omens. 
At a concert given by a famous player, the audience 
has been well schooled in anticipation. The artist 
always appears under a halo his reputation has made 



I 

20 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

for him. This very reputation makes his conquest far 
easier than that of the novice who has to prove his 
ability before he can win the sympathy of the audience. 
He is far more likely to find the audience en rapport 
than indifferent. Sometime, at the play in a theater, 
watch how the audience will unconsciously mirror the 
facial expressions of the forceful actor. In some simi- 
lar manner, the virtuoso on the concert platform 
sensitizes the minds and emotions of the sympathetic 
audience. If the effect is deep and lasting, the artist 
is said to possess that Kohinoor of virtuosodom 
magnetism. 

Some widely read critics have made the very 
natural error of confounding magnetism with person- 
ality. These words have quite different connota- 
tions personality comprehending the more subtle 
force of magnetism. An artist's individual worth is 
very closely allied with his personality that is, his 
whole extrinsic attitude toward the thought and action 
of the world about him. How important personality 
is may be judged by the widely advertised efforts of 
the manufacturers of piano-playing machines to 
convince the public that their products, often aston- 
ishingly fine, do actually reproduce the individual 
effects which come from the playing of the living 
artist. Piano-playing machines have their place, 
and it is an important one* However, wonderful 
as they may be, they can never be anything but 
machines. They bring unquestioned joy to thousands, 
and they act as missionaries for both music and the 



THE ARTIST'S LIFE 21 

music-teacher by taking the art into countless homes 
where it might otherwise never have penetrated, thus 
creating the foundation for a strong desire for a 
thorough study of music. The piano-playing machine 
may easily boast of a mechanism as wonderful as 
that of a Liszt, a d' Albert or a Bachaus, but it can no 
more claim personality than the typewriter upon 
which this article is being written can claim to repro- 
duce the individuality which characterizes the hand- 
writing of myriads of different persons. Personality, 
then, is the virtuoso's one great unassailable strong- 
hold. It is personality that makes us want to hear a 
half dozen different renderings of a single Beethoven 
sonata by a half dozen different pianists. Each has 
the charm and flavor of the interpreter. 

But personality in its relation to art has been so 
exquisitely defined by the inimitable British essayist, 
A. C Benson, that we can do no better than to quote 
his words: 

"I have lately come to perceive that the one thing 
which gives value to any piece of art, whether it be 
book, or picture, or music, is that subtle and evasive 
thing which is called personality. No amount of labor, 
of zest, even of accomplishment, can make up for the 
absence of this quality. It must be an almost in- 
stinctive thing, I believe. Of course, the mere pres- 
ence of personality in a work of art is not sufficient, 
because the personality revealed may be lacking in 
charm; and charm, again, is an instinctive thing. 
No artist can set out to capture charm; he will toil 



22 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

all the night and take nothing; but what every artist 
can and must aim at is to have a perfectly sincere 
point of view. He must take his chance as to whether 
his point of view is an attractive one; but sincerity 
is the one indispensable thing. It is useless to take 
opinions on trust, to retail them, to adopt them; 
they must be formed, created, felt. The work of a 
sincere artist is almost certain to have some value; 
the work of an insincere artist is of its very nature 
worthless." 

Mr. Benson's " charm " is what the virtuoso feels 
as magnetism. It puts something into the artist's 
playing that he cannot define. For a moment the 
vital spark flares into a bewildering flame, and all his 
world is peopled with moths hovering around the 
"divine fire." 

THE GREATEST THING or ALL 
If we have dwelt too long upon magnetism, those 
who know its importance in the artist's life will readily 
perceive the reason. But do not let us be led away 
into thinking that magnetism can take the place of 
hard work. Even the tiny prodigy has a career of 
work behind him, and the master pianist has often 
climbed to his position over Afatterhorns and ML 
Blancs of industry. Days of practice, months of 
study, years of struggle are part of the biography of 
almost every one who has attained real greatness. 
What a "pity to destroy time-old illusions! Some 
prefer to think of their artist heroes dreaming their 



THE ARTIST'S LIFE 23 

lives away in the hectic caf6s of Pesth or buried in the 
melancholy, absinthe and paresis of some morbid 
cabaret of Paris. As a matter of fact, the best 
known pianists live a totally different life a life of 
grind, grind, grind incessant study, endless practice 
and ceaseless search fWMWeans to raise their artistic 
standing. In some quiet country villa, miles away 
from the center of unlicensed Bacchanalian revels, 
the virtuoso may be found working hard upon next 
season's repertoire. 

After all, the greatest thing in the artist's life is 
W-O-R-K. 



II 

ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 

SOME years ago the Director of the Leipsic Con- 
servatorium gave the writer a complete record of the 
number of graduates of the conservatory from the 
founding to the late nineties. Of the thousands of 
students who had passed through the institution only 
a few had gained wide prominence. Hardly one stu- 
dent in one hundred had won his way into the most 
voluminous of the musical biographical dictionaries. 
The proportion of distinguished graduates to those 
who fail to gain renown is very high at Leipsic com- 
pared with many other institutions. What becomes 
of the thousands of students all working frantically 
with the hope of becoming famous pianists? Surely, 
so much earnest effort can not be wasted even though 
all can not win the race? Those who often convince 
themselves that they have failed go on to perform 
a more useful service to society than the laurel- 
crowned virtuoso. Unheralded and unapplauded, 
they become the teachers, the true missionaries of 
Frau Musik to the people. 

What is it then, which promotes a few "fortunate" 
ones from the armies of students all over America and 
Europe and makes of them great virtuosos? What 
must one do to become a virtuoso? How long must 
one study before one may make a debut? What does 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 25 

a great virtuoso receive for his performances? How 
long does the virtuoso practice each day? What 
exercises does he use? All these and many more 
similar questions crop up regularly in the offices of 
music critics and in the studios of teachers. Un- 
fortunately, a definite answer can be given to none, 
although a great deal may be learned by reviewing 
some of the experiences of one who became great. 

Some virtuosos actually seem to be born with the 
heavenly gift. Many indeed are sons and daughters 
of parents who see their own demolished dreams rea- 
lized in the triumphs of their children. When little 
Nathan creeps to the piano and quite without the 
help of his elders picks out the song he has heard his 
mother sing, all the neighbors in Odessa know it 
the next day. "A wonder child perhaps!" Oh 
happy augury of fame and fortune! Little Nathan 
shall have the best of instruction. His mother will 
teach him at first, of course. She will shape his little 
fingers to the keyboard. She will sing sweet folk mel- 
odies in his ear, songs of labor, struggle, exile. She 
will count laboriously day after day until he "plays in 
time. " All the while the little mother sees far beyond 
the Ghetto, out into the great world, grand audi- 
toriumSj breathless crowds, countless lights, nobles 
granting trinkets, bravos from a thousand throats, 
Nathan surrounded by endless wreaths of laurel, Oh, 
it is all too much," Nathan ! Nathan ! you are play- 
ing far too fast. One, two, three, four, one, two, three, 
four, there, that is the tempo dementi would have 



26 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

had it Fine! Some day, Nathan, you will be a great 
pianist and JJ etc., etc. 

Nathan next goes to the great teacher. He is 
already eight years old and fairly leaping out of his 
mother's arms. Two years with the teacher and 
Nathan is probably ready for a debut as a wonder 
child. The critics are kind, If his parents are very 
poor Nathan may go from town to town for awhile 
being exhibited like a trained poodle or a tiny acro- 
bat. The further he gets from home the more severe 
his critics become, and Nathan and his mother hurry 
back to the old teachers, who tell them that Nathan 
must still practice long and hard as well as do some- 
thing to build up his general education. The world 
in these days looks askance at the musician who aside 
from his keyboard accomplishments is a numskull 
More sacrifice for Nathan's mother and father, 
but what are poverty and deprivation with such a 
goal in sight? Nathan studies for some years in the 
schools and in the high schools as well as at the con- 
servatory. In the music school he will doubtless 
spend six years in all, two years in the post-graduate 
or master classes, following the regular four-year 
course. When sufficiently capable he will take a 
few pupils at a kopeck or so per lesson to help out with 
the family expenses, 

Nathan graduates from the conservatory with 
high honors. Will the public now receive him as a 
great pianist? A concert is planned and Nathan 
plays. Day and night for years his whole family 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 2 7 

have been looking forward to that concert. Let us 
concede that the concert is a triumph. Does he 
find fame and fortune waiting for him next morning? 
No indeed, there are a thousand Nathans all equally 
accomplished. Again he must work and again he 
must concertize. Perhaps after years of strife a 
manager may approach him some day with a contract. 
Lucky Nathan, have you not a thousand brothers 
who may never see a contract? Then, "Can it be 
possible Nathan, is it really America, America 
the virtuoso's Golconda!" Nathan makes a glorious 
tournk. Perhaps the little mother goes with him. 
More likely she stays at home in Odessa waiting with 
glistening eyes for each incoming mail. Pupils come 
to Nathan and he charges for each lesson a sum equal- 
ing his father's former weekly wage. Away with the 
Ghetto! Away with poverty! Away with oblivion! 
Nathan is a real virtuoso, a veritable Meistert 

THE AMERICAN VIRTUOSO OF TO-DAY 
How does the American aspirant compete with 
Nathan? Are there not as fine teachers here in 
America as in Europe? Is it really necessary to go 
to Europe to "finish" one's musical education? 
Can one not become a virtuoso in America? more 
questions with which editors and teachers are con- 
stantly plied. Can one who for years has waged a 
battle for the American teacher and American musical 
education answer this question without bias? Can 
we who trace the roots of our lineage back to barren 



28 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

Plymouth or stolid New Netherland judge the question 
fairly and honestly? 

One case suffices to show the road which the Ameri- 
can virtuoso is likely to travel. She is still a young 
woman, in her twenties. Among her teachers was 
one who ranks among the very best in America. Her 
general education was excellent, in fact far superior 
to that of the average young lady of good family in 
continental Europe. While in her early teens she 
became the leading feature at conservatory concerts, 
Her teacher won many a profitable pupil through her 
brilliant playing. She studies, as do so many Ameri- 
can pupils, without making a regular business of it. 
Compared with the six year all day, week in and week 
out course which Nathan pursued in Odessa our little 
compatriot was at a decided disadvantage. But 
who ever heard of a music student making a regular 
business of learning the profession as would a doctor 
or a lawyer? Have not students contented them- 
selves with two lessons a week since time immemorial? 
Need we go further to discover one of the flaws in 
our own educational system, a flaw that is not due to 
the teacher or to the methods of instruction, but 
rather to our time-old custom. Two lessons a 
week are adequate for the student who does not 
aspire to become a professional, but altogether in- 
sufficient for the student who must accomplish a vast 
amount of work in a comparatively small number of 
years. She requires constant advice, regular daily 
instruction and careful attention under experienced 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 29 

Instructors. Teachers are not to be blamed if she 
does not receive this kind of attention, as there are 
abundant opportunities now in America to receive 
systematic training under teachers as thorough, as 
able and as inspiring as may be found in Europe. 
The excuse that the expense is greater in America 
falls when we learn the very high prices charged by 
leading teachers in Germany, Austria and France. 
To go back to our particular case, the young lady 
is informed at the end of a course of two or three 
lessons a week during two or three years, that she is 
a full-fledged virtuoso and may now enter the con- 
cert field to compete with Carreno, Bloomfield- 
Zeisler or Goodson. Her playing is obviously supe- 
rior to that of her contemporary students. Some one 
insists upon a short course of study abroad, not 
because it is necessary, but because it might add to her 
reputation and make her first flights in the American 
concert field more spectacular. Accordingly she 
goes to Europe, only to find that she is literally sur- 
rounded by budding virtuosos, an army of Nathans, 
any one of whom might easily eclipse her. Against 
her personal charm, her new-world vigor, her Yankee 
smartness, Nathan places his years of systematic 
training, his soul saturated in the music and art of 
past centuries of European endeavor and perhaps his 
youth of poverty which makes success imperative. 
The young lady's European teacher frankly tells her 
that while her playing is delightful for the salon or 
parlor she will never do for the great concert hall. 



30 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

She must learn to play with more power, more virility, 
more character. Accordingly he sets her at work 
along special muscle-building, tone-cultivating, speed- 
making lines of technic in order to make up for the 
lack of the training which the young lady might 
easily have had at home had her parents been schooled 
to systematic daily study as a necessity. Her first 
technical exercises with the new teacher are so simple 
that the young woman is on the verge of despair 
until she realizes that her playing is really taking on a 
new and more mature character. She has been lift- 
ing fifty pound weights occasionally. Her teacher 
is training her to lift one hundred pound weights every 
day. She has been sketching in pastels, her teacher 
is now teaching her how to make Velasquez-like 
strokes in oils. Her gain is not a mere matter of 
loudness. She could play quite as loud before she went 
to Europe. There is something mature in this new 
style of playing, something that resembles the play- 
ing of the other virtuosos she has heard. Who is the 
great European master who is working such great 
wonders for her? None other thin a celebrated 
teacher who taught for years in America,- a master 
no better than dozens of others in America right 
now. Can the teachers in America be blamed if the 
parents and the pupils fail to make as serious and 
continued an effort here? Atmosphere, bosh! Work, 
long, hard and unrelenting, that is the salvation of 
the student who would become a virtuoso. With our 
increasing wealth and advancing culture American 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 31 

parents are beginning to discover that given the 
same work and the same amount of instruction musi- 
cal education in America differs very slightly from 
musical education abroad. 

But we are deserting our young virtuoso most 
ungallantly. In Berlin she hears so many concerts 
and recitals, so many different styles of playing, that 
she begins to think for herself and her sense of artistic 
discrimination interpretation, if you will becomes 
more and more acute. Provided with funds for at- 
tending concerts, she does regularly, whereas in 
America she neglected opportunities equally good. 
She never realized before that there could be so much 
to a Brahms Inkrmezw or a Chopin Ballade, At the 
end of her first year her American common-sense 
tells her that a plunge into the concert field is still 
dangerous. Accordingly she remains two, or possibly 
three, more years and at the end if she has worked hard 
she is convinced that with proper management she 
may stand some chance of winning that fickle treasure, 
public favor. 

"But," persists the reader, "it would have been 
possible for her to have accomplished the same work 
at home in America." Most certainly, if she had 
had any one of the hundred or more virtuoso teachers 
now resident in the United States all of whom are 
capable of bringing a highly talented pupil to virtuoso 
heights, and if in their teaching they had exerted 
sufficient will-power to demand from the pupil and 
the pupil's parents the same conditions which would 



32 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

govern the work of the same pupil studying in Europe. 
Through long tradition and by means of endless 
experiences the conditions have been established in 
Europe. The student who aspires to become a pro- 
fessional is given a distinctively professional course. 
In America the need for such a training is but scantily 
appreciated. Only a very few of us are able to ap- 
praise the real importance of music in the advance- 
ment of human civilization, nor is this unusual, since 
most of us have but to go back but a very few genera- 
tions to encounter our blessed Puritan and Quaker 
ancestors to whom all music, barring the lugubrious 
Psalm singing, was the inspiration of the devil. The 
teachers, as has been said before, are fully ready and 
more than anxious to give the kind of training re- 
quired. Very frequently parents are themselves to 
blame for the slender dikttantc style of playing which 
their well-instructed children present. They measure 
the needs of the concert hall by the dimensions of the 
parlor. The teacher of the would-be professional 
pupil aspires to produce a quantity of tone that will 
fill an auditorium seating at least one thousand people. 
The pupil at home is enjoined not to u bang" or 
" pound." The result is a feeble, characterless tone 
which rarely fills an auditorium as it should. The 
actor can not forever rehearse in whispers if he is to 
fill a huge theater, and the concert pianist must have a 
strong, sure, resilient touch in order to bring about 
climaxes and make the range of his dynamic power 
all-comprehensive, Indeed, the separation from home 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 33 

ties, or shall we call them home interferences, is often 
more responsible for the results achieved abroad than 
superior instruction. 

Unfortunately, the number of virtuosos who have 
been taught exclusively in America is really very 
small. It is not a question of ability upon the 
part of the teacher or talent upon the part of the 
pupil. It is entirely a matter of the attitudes of 
the teacher, the pupil and the pupil's home advisers. 
Success demands strong-willed discipline and the most 
lofty standards imaginable. Teachers who have 
taught for years in America have returned to Europe, 
doubled and quadrupled their fees, and, under old- 
world surroundings and with more rigid standards of 
artistic work, have produced results they declare 
would have been impossible in America. The author 
contends that these results would have been readily 
forthcoming if we in America assumed the same 
earnest, persistent attitude toward the work itself. 
If these words do no more than reach the eyes of some 
of those who are advising students wrongly in this 
matter they will not have been written in vain. The 
European concert triumphs of Mrs. H. H. A. Beach, 
whose training was received wholly in the United 
States, is an indication of what may be achieved in 
America if the right course is pursued. Conditions 
are changing rapidly in our country, particularly in 
the wonderful West and Middle-West. It seems 
likely that many pianists without foreign instruction 
of any kind will have as great success in our concert 

8 



34 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

field as have many of our best opera singers who have 
never had a lesson "on the other side. " 

Our little pianist has again been playing truant 
from our manuscript. Let us see what happens to 
her when she finished her work with the famous 
teacher abroad. Surely the making of a virtuoso is 
an expensive matter. Let us take the estimate of 
the young pianist's father, who practically mortgaged 
his financial existence to give his daughter the right 
musical trailing. 

Lessons with first teacher at $1,00 a lesson* 

Eighty lessons a year for four years. , , $140 oo 
Lessons "with second American teacher for two 

years at $2.00 a lesson 320,00 

Lessons with third Amencan teacher at $4.00 a 

lesson for one year and six months 480,00 

Music, books, etc 160.00 

Piano .., 7$Q-oo 

Maintenance for eight years at $200.00 a year 

(minimum estimate) 1600,00 

Four years in Europe, travel, board, instruction, 

advertising, etc 6000 oo 



TOTAL $0550 oo 

But the expense has only begun, if you please. 
The harvest is still a long way off. According to the 
fine traditions established by the late P. T. Barnum, 
there must be a European furore to precede the 
American advent of the musical star. The journal- 
istic astronomers must point their tcle?copes long and 
steadily at the European firmament and proclaim 
their discovery in the columns of their pape$. Again, 
furores are expensive. One must hire an auditorium, 
hire an orchestra, and, according to some very frank 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 3$ 

and disgusted young virtuosos who have failed to 
succeed, hire a critic or so like the amusing Trotter in 
Fanny's First Play. What with three and four 
concerts a night why should not the critics have a 
pourboire for extra critical attention? Fortunately 
the best papers hold their criticisms above price. 
Bought criticisms are very rare, and if the young 
pianist or any representative approaches certain 
critics with any such suggestion, she may count upon 
faring very badly in cold type on the following day, 
If Miss Virtuoso makes a success, her press notices 
are sent to her American concert managers, who 
purchase space in some American musical news- 
papers and reprint these notices. Publicity of this 
kind is legitimate, as the American public knows that 
in most cases these press notices are reprinted solely 
as advertising. It is simply the commercial process of 
"acquainting the trade" and if done right may prove 
one of the most fortunate investments for the young 
artist. Do not imagine, however, that the pianist's 
American manager speculates in the problematical 
success of the coming virtuoso. On the contrary, his 
fee for putting the artist on his "list" and promoting 
her interests may range from five hundred dollars to 
two thousand dollars in advance. After that the 
manager usually requires a commission on all engage- 
ments "booked." Graft? Spoils? Plunder? Not 
a bit of it. If the manager is a good one that is, 
if he is an upright business man well schooled in his 
work the investment should prove a good one. 



36 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

Exploiting a new artist is a matter demanding brains, 
energy, ingenuity and experience. A manufacturing 
firm attempting to put some new product upon an 
already crowded market would spend not $2000.00 
a year in. advertising, but $100,000,00. The manager 
must maintain an organization, he must travel, he 
must advertise and he too must live. If he succeeds 
in marketing the services of the young virtuoso at one 
or two hundred dollars a concert, the returns soon 
begin to overtake the incessant expenses. However, 
only the most persistent and talented artists survive 
to reap these rewards. The late Henry Wolfsohn, 
one of the greatest managers America has ever pro- 
duced, told the writer frequently that the task of 
introducing a new artist was one of the most thankless 
and uncertain undertakings imaginable. 

Does the work, the time, the expense frighten you, 
little miss at the keyboard? Do you fear the grind, 
the grueling disappoints, the unceasing sacrifices? 
Then abandon your great career and join the army of 
useful music workers who are teaching the young 
people of the land to love music as it should be loved, 
not in hysterical outbursts in the concert hall but in 
the home circle. If you have the unextinguishable 
fire within your soul, if you have the talent from on 
high, if you have health, energy, system, vitality, 
nothing can stop you from becoming great. Advice, 
interferences, obstacles will be nothing to you. You 
will work day and night to reach your goal. What 
better guide could you possibly have than the words 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 37 

of the great pianists themselves ? While the ensuing 
pages were compiled with the view of helping the 
amateur performer quite as much as the student who 
would become a professional pianist, you will never- 
theless find in the expressions of the really great 
virtuosos a wealth of information and practical ad- 
vice. 

Most of the following chapters are the results of 
many different conferences with the greatest living 
pianists. All have had the revision of the artists in 
person before publication was undertaken. In order 
to indicate how carefully and willingly this was done 
by the pianists it is interesting to note the case of the 
great Russian composer-virtuoso Rachmaninoff. The 
original conference was conducted in German and in 
French. The material was arranged in manuscript 
form in English. M. Rachmaninoff then requested 
a second conference. In the mean time he had had the 
better part of the manuscript translated into his 
native Russian. However, in order to insure accu- 
racy in the use of words, the writer translated the 
entire matter back into German in the pianist's pres- 
ence. M. Rachmaninoff did not speak English and 
the writer did not speak Russian. 

The chapter relating to Harold Bauer is the result 
of a conference conducted in English. Mr. Bauer's 
use of his native tongue is as fluent and eloquent as a 
poet or an orator. In order that his ideas might have 
the best possible expression the entire chapter was 



38 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

written several times in manuscript and carefully 
rearranged and rephrased by Mr. Bauer in person. 

Some of the conferences lasted well on through the 
night. The writers twenty years' experience in 
teaching was constantly needed to grasp different 
shadings of meaning that some pianists found difficult 
to phrase. Many indeed have felt their weakness in 
the art of verbal expression and have rejoiced to have 
their ideas clothed with fitting words. Complete 
frankness and sincerity were encouraged in every 
case. The results of the conference with Wilhehn 
Bachaus, conceded by many other pianists to be the 
foremost "technicalist" of the day, are, it will be 
observed, altogether different in the statement of 
teaching principles from those of Harold Bauer, 
Each is a sincere expression of individual opinion ami 
the thoughtful student by weighing the ideas of both 
may reach conclusions immensely to his personal 
advantage. 

No wider range of views upon the subject of 
pianoforte playing could possibly come between the 
covers of a book. The student, the teacher, and the 
music lover who acquaints himself with the opinions 
of the different masters of the keyboard can not fail 
to have a very clear insight into the best contemporary 
ideas upon technic, interpretation, style and expression. 
The author or shall he call himself a collector?' 
believes that the use of the questions following each 
chapter will be found practical and useful in the work 
of both clubs and classes* Practice, however, is still 



ARE PIANISTS BORN OR MADE? 39 

more important than precept. The student might 
easily learn this book "by heart" and yet be unable 
to play a perfect scale. Let him remember the words 
of Locke: 

"Men of much reading are greatly learned, but may be 
little knowing " 

After all, the virtuoso is great because he really 
knows and W-0-R-K-S, 



PEPITO ARRIOLA 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Pepito Arriola was born on the i4th of December, 
1897. A careful investigation of his ancestry reveals 
that no less than twelve of his forefathers and relations 
have been pronouncedly musical. His father was a 
physician, but his mother was a musician. His early 
musical training was given to him exclusively by his 
mother. The following was prepared when he was 
twelve years old and at that time he was apparently 
a perfectly healthy child, with the normal activity 
of a boy of his age and with a little more general edu- 
cation in addition to his music than the average 
child at fifteen or sixteen possesses. He spoke French, 
German (fluently) and Spanish, but little English. 
Despite the fact that he had received numerous honors 
from European monarchs and famous musicians, he 
was exceptionally modest. In his playing he seemed 
never to miss a note in even very complicated com- 
positions and his musical maturity and point of view 
were truly astonishing. The following is particularly 
valuable from an educational standpoint, because of 
the absolute unaffectedness of the child's narrative of 
his own training, 

(The following conference was conducted in German 
and French.) 



40 




PEPITO ARRIOLA 



m 

THE STORY OF A WONDER CHILD 

PEPITO ARRIOLA 

MY EARLIEST RECOLLECTIONS 
So much that was of interest to me was continually 
occurring while I was a child that it all seems like a 
kind of haze to me. I cannot remember when I 
first commenced to play, for my mother tells me that 
I wanted to reach out for the keyboard before I was 
out of her arms. I have also learned that when I was 
about two and one-half years of age, I could quite 
readily play after my mother anything that the size 
of my hand would permit me to play. 

I loved music so dearly, and it was such fun to run 
over the keyboard and make the pretty sounds, that 
the piano was really my first and best toy. I loved to 
hear my mother play, and continually begged her to 
play for me so that I could play the same pieces after 
her. I knew nothing of musical notation and played 
entirely by ear, which seemed to me the most natural 
way to play. At that time, word was sent to the 
King of Spain that I showed talent, and he became 
interested in me, and I played before him. 

MY FRIENDSHIP WITH ARTHUR NIKISCH 
A short time afterward, Heir Arthur Nikisch, con- 
ductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra at Leipsic, and 

41 



42 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

at one time conductor of the Boston Symphony 
Orchestra in America, came to Madrid to conduct the 
Philharmonic Orchestra for a special concert. Some 
one told him about my playing and I was permitted to 
play for him. He became so interested that he in- 
sisted upon my being taken to Leipsic fo r further 
study. I was then four years of age, and although 
musical advantages in Spain are continually increas- 
ing, my mother thought it best at the time that she 
should follow the great musician's advice and that I 
should be taken to the German city. 

I want to say that in my earliest work, my mother 
made no effort to push me or urge me to go ahead. 
I loved to play for the sake of playing, and needed no 
coaxing to spend time at the keyboard. In my very 
early years I was permitted to play in public very 
little, although there were constant demands made 
to engage me. I was looked upon as a kind of curi- 
osity and my mother wanted me to study in the 
regular way with good masters, and also to acquire 
more strength before I played in public very much. 

I did, however, play at the great Albert Hall in 
London. The big building holds Sooo people, but 
that was so long ago that I have almost forgotten all 
about it, except that they all seemed pleased to see a 
little boy of four playing in so very big a place, I 
also played for royal personages, including the 
Kaiser of Germany, who was very good to me and 
gave me a beautiful pin. I like the Kaiser very much. 
He seems like a fine man. 



THE STORY OF A WONDER CHILD 43 

MY FIRST REGULAR INSTRUCTION 
My first teacher, aside from my mother, was a 
Herr Dreckendorf, of Leipsic. He was very kind to 
me and took the greatest pains, but the idea of learn- 
ing the notes was very distasteful to me. I was ter- 
ribly bored with the technical exercises he gave me, 
but have since learned that one can save much time 
by practicing scales and exercises. Although I do 
not like them, I practice them every day now, for a 
little while, so as to get my fingers in good working 
order. 

In about six weeks I knew all that was expected 
of me in the way of scales in octaves, sixths, thirds, 
double thirds, etc., and my teacher commenced to 
turn his attention to studies and pieces. For the 
first time I found musical notation interesting, for 
then I realized that it was not necessary for me to 
wait until some one else played a piece before I could 
begin to explore its beauties. Ah! it was wonderful, 
those first days with the pieces. I was in a new 
country and could hardly wait to master one at a 
time, so eager was I to reach the next one and see 
just what it was like. 

Herr Dreckendorf gave me some studies by Dussek, 
Cramer, the Inventions of Bach, etc,, but before long 
the fascination of playing beautiful pieces was so 
great that he found it hard to keep me away from them. 



44 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

EARLY REPERTORY 

So hungry was I to find new musical works that 
when I was eight and a half years old I could play 
from memory such pieces as the B flat minor Scherzo, 
the A flat major Polonaise, and most of the Valses 
and Etudes of Chopin. I also played the Sixth 
Rhapsody of Liszt and the C minor Concerto of Beet- 
hoven. 

In the mean time we moved to Berlin and this has 
been our home ever since, so you see I have seen 
far more of Germany than of my native country, 
Spain. In fact, it seems more natural for me to speak 
German than Spanish. At the age of seven it was 
my good fortune to come under the instruction of 
Alberto Jonas, the Spanish virtuoso, who for many 
years was at the head of a large music school in 
America. I can never be grateful enough to him, for 
he has taught me without remuneration and not 
even a father could be kinder to me. When I left 
Berlin for my present tour, tears came to our eyes, 
because I knew I was leaving my best friend. Most 
of my present repertory has been acquired under 
Jonas and he has been so, so exacting. 

He also saw to it that my training was broad, and 
not confined to those composers whose works ap- 
pealed most to me. The result is that I now ap- 
preciate the works of all the composers for the piano. 
Beethoven I found very absorbing. I learned the 
Appassionato Sonata in one week's time, and longed 



THE STORY OF A WONDER CHILD 45 

for more. My teacher, however, insisted upon my 
going slowly, and mastering all the little details. 

I have also developed a great fondness for Bach, 
because I like to find how he winds his melodies in 
and out, and makes such beautiful things of them, I 
play a great deal of Bach, including the G minor 
organ Fugue, which Liszt played the devil with in 
arranging it for the piano. Goodness knows, it was 
difficult enough for the organ in its original form! 
I don't see why Liszt wanted to make it more difficult. 

Liszt is, of course, considered a great master for 
the piano, and I play his works with great delight, 
especially the Campanella with its beautiful bell 
effect, but I cannot look upon Liszt as a pianistic 
composer in the same way that one thinks of Chopin 
as a pianistic composer. The piano was Chopin's 
natural tongue. Liszt's tongue, like that of Beet- 
hoven, was the orchestra. He knew no difficulties, 
according to the manner in which he wrote his own 
works. Consequently one must think of the orchestra 
in playing Liszt's works, while the works of Chopin 
suggest only the piano. 

MY DAILY PRACTICE 

During most of my life my practice has never 
exceeded two hours a day. In this country, while 
on tour, I never practice more than one and one-half 
hours This is not necessary, because of the concerts 
themselves, which keep up my technical work. I 
never worry about my fingers. If I can think the 



46 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

pieces right, my fingers will always play the notes. 
My mother insists upon my being out in the open 
air all the time I am not studying and practicing, 
and I am out the better part of the day. 

At my practice periods, I devote at least fifteen 
or twenty minutes to technical exercises, and strive 
to play all the scales, in the different forms, in all 
the keys, once each day. I then play some of my 
concert numbers, continually trying to note if there 
is any place that requires attention. If there is, I 
at once spend a little time trying to improve the 
passage. 

It is very largely a matter of thinking the musical 
thought right, and then saying it in the right way. 
If you think it right, and your aim at the keyboard is 
good, you are not likely to hit the wrong notes, even 
in skips such as one finds in the Rubinstein Valse 
in E flat. I do not ever remember of hitting the 
upper note wrong. It all seems so easy to me that 
I am sure that if other children in America would 
look upon other examples in the same way, they 
could not find their work so very difficult. I love to 
practice Chopin, One cannot be so intimate with 
Bach; he is a little cold and unfriendly until one 
knows him very well 

GENERAL EDUCATION 

I have said that we play as we think. The mind 
must be continually improved or the fingers will 
grow dull. In order to see the beauties in music 



THE STORY OF A WONDER CHILD 47 

we must see the beauties in other studies. I have 
a private teacher who comes to me in Berlin and 
teaches me different studies, I have studied some 
Latin, French, and the regular school studies. Elec- 
tricity interests me more than I can tell you and I 
like to learn about it, but my greatest interest is in 
the study of astronomy. Surely nothing could be 
finer than to look at the stars, I have friends among 
the astronomers of Berlin who let me look through 
their telescopes and tell me all about the different 
constellations and the worlds that look like moons 
when you see them enlarged. It is all so wonderful 
that it makes one never cease thinking. 

I also like to go to factories and learn how different 
things are made. I think that there are so many 
things that one can learn outside of a school-room. 
For instance, I went to a wire factory recently, and 
I am sure that I found out a great many things I 
might never have found out in books. One also 
learns by traveling, and when I am on my tours 
I feel that I learn more of the different people and the 
way they live than I ever could from geographies. 
Don't you think I am a lucky boy? One must study 
geography, however, to learn about maps and the 
way in which countries are formed. I have toured in 
Germany, Russia, and England, and now in America. 
America interests me wonderfully. Everything seems 
so much alive and I like the climate very much. 



48 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

THEORETICAL STUDIES 

Musical theory bores me now, almost as much as 
my first technical studies did. Richard Strauss, the 
great German composer, has very kindly offered to 
teach me. I like him very much and he is so kind, but 
his thundering musical effects sometimes seems very 
noisy to me. I know many of the rules of harmony, 
but they are very uncomfortable and disagreeable to 
me. 

I would far rather write my music as it comes to 
me* Herr Nikisch says that when I do it that way, I 
make very few blunders, but I know I can never be a 
composer until I have mastered all the branches of 
musical theory. I am now writing a symphony. I 
played some parts for Herr Nikisch and he has agreed 
to produce it. Of course, the orchestral parts will have 
to be written for me, but I know what instruments I 
want to express certain ideas. 

Putting down the notes upon paper is so tiresome. 
Why can't one think the musical thoughts and have 
them preserved without the tedious work of writing 
them out! Sometimes before I can get them on paper 
they are gone no one knows where, and the worst of 
all is that they never come back. It is far greater 
fun to play the piano, or play football, or go rowing. 

READING AND STUDY 

I love to read, and my favorite of all books is The 
Three Musketeers. I have also read something of 



THE STORY OF A WONDER rmr.Ti 49 

Shakespeare, Goethe, Schiller, and many other writers. 
I like parts of the great Spanish novel Don Quixote, 
but I find it hard to read as a whole. I think that 
music students ought to read a great deal. It makes 
them think, and it gives them poetical thoughts. 

Music is, after all, only another kind of poetry, and 
if we get poetical ideas from books we become more 
poetical, and our music becomes more beautiful. The 
student who thinks only of hammering down keys at 
the piano cannot play in a manner in which people 
will take pleasure. Piano playing is so much more 
than merely pressing down keys. One has to tell 
people things that cannot be told in words that is 
what music is. 

AT THE CONCERT 

I do not know what it is to be nervous at concerts. 
I have played so much and I am always so sure of 
what I am going to play that nervousness is out of the 
question. Of course, I am anxious about the way in 
which audiences will receive my playing. I want to 
please them so much and don't want them to applaud 
me because I am a boy, but would rather have them 
come as real music-lovers to enjoy the music itself. 
If I cannot bring pleasure to them in that way I do 
not deserve to be before the public. 

My concerts are usually about one hour in length, 
although I sometimes play encores for some time after 
the concert. I make it a practice not to eat for a few 
hours before the concert, as doctors have told my 

4 



SO GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

mother that my mind will be in better shape. I want 
to thank the many friends I have made among the 
students who have come to my concerts, and I hope 
that I may have told them some things which will 
help them in their work. 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC or PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES I 

PEPITO ARRIOLA 

1. Should the talented child be urged or pushed 
ahead? 

2. In what period of time should a very talented 
child master the elementary outlines of technic? 

3. Can Liszt be regarded as a pianistic composer in 
the same sense as that in which Chopin is considered 
pianistic? 

4. How should a very talented child's practice 
time be divided? 

5. What part does right thinking play in execution? 

6. How should the child's general education be 
conducted? 

7. Should the education be confined to the class* 
room? 

8. Should the musical child be encouraged to read 
fiction? 

9. Does music resemble poetry? 

10. Should one be careful about the body before 
concerts? 





, X 



WILHELM BACHAUS 



WILHELM BACHAUS 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Wilhelm Bachaus was born at Leipsic, March 
24, 1884, two years before the death of Franz Liszt. 
Nine years younger than Josef Hofmann and a trifle 
more than one-half the age of Paderewski he rep- 
resents a different decade from that of other pian- 
ists included in this work. Bachaus studied for nine 
years with Alois Reckendorf, a Moravian teacher 
who was connected with the Leipsic Conservatory for 
more than thirty years. Reckendorf had been a stu- 
dent of science and philosophy at the Vienna and the 
Heidelberg Universities and was an earnest musician 
and teacher with theories of his own. He took an 
especial interest in Bachaus and was his only teacher 
with the exception of one year spent with d'Albert 
and "three lessons with Siloti." Although Bachaus 
commenced playing when he was eight years old he 
feels that his professional d&ut was made in London 
in June, 1 901, when he played the tremendously difficult 
Brahms-Paganini Variations. In 1905, when Bachaus 
was only twenty-one, he won the famous Rubinstein 
Prize at Paris, This consists of 5000 francs offered 
every five years to young men between, the ages of 
twenty and twenty-six* 

(The following conference was conducted in English 
and German.) 



IV 
THE PIANIST OF TO-MORROW 

WILHELM BACHAUS 

TO-DAY, YESTERDAY AND TO-MORROW 
"It is somewhat surprising how very little difference 
exists between the material used in piano teaching 
to-day and that employed forty or fifty years ago. 
Of course, there has been a remarkable amount of 
new technical material, exercises, studies, etc., devised, 
written and published, and some of this presents the 
advantage of being an improvement upon the old 
an improvement which may be termed an. advance 
but, taken all in all, the advance has been very slight 
when compared with the astonishing advances made 
in other sciences and other phases of human progress 
in this time. 

" It would seem that the science of music (for the 
processes of studying the art are undoubtedly scien- 
tific) left little territory for new explorers and in- 
ventors. Despite the great number of Studes that 
have been written, imagine for one moment what a 
desert the technic of music would be without Gzerny, 
Clementi, Tausig, Pischna to say nothing of the 
great works of Scarlatti and Bach, which have an 
effect upon the technic, but are really great works of 
musical art 

2 



THE PIANIST OF TO-MORROW 53 

THE WONDERFUL EFFICACY OF SCALES 
" Personally, I practice scales in preference to all 
other forms of technical exercises when I am prepar- 
ing for a concert. Add to this arpeggios and Bach, 
and you have the basis upon which my technical 
work stands. Pianists who have been curious about 
my technical accomplishments have apparently been 
amazed when I have told them that scales are my great 
technical mainstay that is, scales plus hard work, 
They evidently have thought that I had some kind of 
alchemic secret, like the philosopher's stone which was 
designed to turn the baser metals into gold. I possess 
no secrets which any earnest student may not acquire 
if he will work in the laboratory of music long enough. 
There are certain artistic points which only come with 
long-continued experiment. 

"As the chemist finds the desired result by inter- 
minable heart-breaking eliminations, so the artist 
must weigh and test his means until he finds the one 
most likely to produce the most beautiful or the most 
appropriate result. But this seeking for the right 
effect has little to do with the kind of technic which 
necessitates one to keep every muscle employed in 
piano-playing properly exerdsed, and I may reiterate 
with all possible emphasis that the source of my 
technical equipment is scales, scales, scales. I find 
their continued daily practice not only beneficial, but 
necessary- I still find it desirable to practice scales 
for half an hour a day. 



54 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIAHO PLAYING 

BACH MUSICALLY OMNIPOIENT 
"It seems almost foolish to repeat what has been 
said so many times about the wonderful old cantor 
of Leipsic, Johann Sebastian Bach. However, there 
may still be some who have not yet become acquainted 
with the indisputable fact that the practice of Bach is 
the shortest, quickest road to technical finish. Busoni 
has enlarged upon Bach, impossible as that may seem; 
but as a modern bridge is sometimes built upon won- 
derful old foundations, Busoni has taken the idea of 
Bach and, with his penetrative and interpretative 
ability, has been able to make the meaning more clear 
and more effective. Any young pianist who aspires 
to have his hands in condition to respond to the subtle 
suggestions of his brain may acquire a marvelous 
foundation by the use of scales, Bach and arpeggios. 

THE OLD THAT is EVER NEW 
"I have seen many ways and means tried out. Some 
seem like an attempt to save time at the expense of 
thoroughness. Furthermore, the means which have 
produced the great pianists of the past are likely to 
differ but little from those which will produce the 
pianists of the future. 

"The ultra-modern teacher who is inclined to think 
scales old-fashioned should go to hear de Pachmann* 
who practices scales every day. De Pachmann, who 
has been a virtuoso for a great many years, still finds 
daily practice necessary, and, in addition to scales, 



THE PIANIST OP TO-MOKROW 55 

he plays a great deal of Bach. To-day his technic is 
more powerful and more comprehensive than ever, 
and he attributes it in a large measure to the simplest 
of means. 

DIFFICULTIES IN NEW PIANOFORTE COMPOSITIONS 
"I have often been asked if the future of pianoforte 
composition seemed destined to alter the technic of the 
instrument, as did the compositions of Liszt, for 
instance. This is a difficult question, but it would 
seem that the borderland of pianistic difficulty had 
been reached in the compositions and transcriptions 
of Busoni and Godowsky. The new French school of 
Debussy, Ravel and others is different in type, but 
does not make any more severe technical demands. 

" However, it is hard for one to imagine anything 
more complicated or more difficult than the Godowsky 
arrangements of the Chopin studies. I fail to see 
how pianoforte technic can go much beyond these, 
unless one gets more fingers or more hands. Godow- 
sky's treatment of these studies is marvelous not 
only from a technical standpoint, but from a musical 
standpoint as well. He has added a new flavor to the 
individual masterpieces of Chopin. He has made 
them wonderfully clever and really very interesting 
studies in harmony and counterpoint, so that one 
forgets their technical intricacies in the beauty of the 
compositions. One cannot say that their original 
beauty has been enhanced, but he has made them 
wonderfully fascinating compositions despite their 
aggravating complications for the student. 



56 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

MERE DIFFICULTY NO LONGER ASTOUNDS 
"The day when the show of startling technical 
skill was sufficient to make a reputation for a pianist 
is, fortunately, past. The mechanical playing devices 
have possibly been responsible for this. The public 
refuses to admire anything that can be done by a 
machine, and longs for something finer, more subtle, 
more closely allied to the soul of the artist. This does 
not mean, however, that the necessity for a compre- 
hensive technic is depreciated. Quite the contrary 
is true. The need for an all-comprehensive technic 
is greater than ever before. But the public demand 
for the purely musical, the purely artistic, is being 
continually manifested. 

"Modern composers are writing with this in view 
rather than huge technical combinations. The giant 
of to-day, to my mind, is indisputably Rachmaninoff. 
He is writing the greatest original music for piano 
of any living composer. All of his compositions arc 
pianistic and he does not condescend to pander to a 
trifling public taste. He is a man with a great mind, 
and, in addition to this, he has a delightful sense of 
proportion and a feeling for the beautiful, all of which 
makes him a composer of the master mould. His 
compositions will endure as long as music. 

MODERN COMPOSITIONS 

"For others of the type of Scriabirte I care less, 
although I am sensible to the beauty of many of their 



THE PIANIST OF TO-MORROW 57 

compositions. They have not, however, the splendid 
mould of Rachmaninoff, nor have they his vigorous 
originality. Doubtless some of these men will pro- 
duce great original compositions in the future. Com- 
positions that are simply not bad are hardly worth the 
paper they are written upon, for they will not last as 
long. The composition that will last is a great, new, 
original thought, inspired, noble and elemental, but 
worked out with the distinctive craftsmanship of the 
great master. 

"I am very partial to Debussy. He has an extra- 
ordinary atmosphere, and, after one has formed a taste 
for him, his compositions are alluring, particularly 
his Homage d Rameau, Jardins SOILS la pluie and D'un 
cahier d'esquisses, which I have been playing upon my 
American tour. 

THE MOST DEFFICTJLT COMPOSITIONS 
"I have continually been asked, 'What is the most 
difficult composition?' The question always amuses 
me, but I suppose it is very human and in line with 
the desire to measure the highest building, the tallest 
mountain, the longest river or the oldest castle. Why 
is such a premium put upon mere difficulty? Strange 
to say, no one ever seems to think it necessary to 
inquire, 'What is the most beautiful piece?' 

"Difficulty in music should by no means be esti- 
mated by technical complications. To play a Mozart 
concerto well is a colossally difficult undertaking, 
The pianist who has worked for hours to get such a 



58 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

composition as near as possible to his conception of 
perfection is never given the credit for his work, except 
by a few connoisseurs, many of whom have been 
through a similarly exacting experience. Months 
may be spent upon comparatively simple compositions, 
such as the Haydn Sonatas or the Mozart Sonatas, 
and the musical public is blind to the additional 
finish or polish so evident to the virtuoso. 

PRAISE THAT IRRITATES 

"The opposite of this is also true. A little show of 
bravura, possibly in a passage which has not cost the 
pianist more than ten minutes of frivolous practice, 
will turn many of the unthinking auditors into a 
roaring mob. This is, of course, very distressing to 
the sincere artist who strives to establish himself by 
his real worth. 

"Of course, there are some compositions which 
present difficulties which few work hard enough to 
surmount. Among these might be mentioned the 
Godowsky-Chopin Studes (particularly the tiude in 
A flat, Opus 25, No. i, which is always especially 
exasperating for the student sufficiently advanced to 
approach it); the Don Juan Pwtasie of Liszt; the 
Brahms-Paganini variations and the Beethoven, Opus 
106, which, when properly played, demands enormous 
technical skill. One certainly saves a lot of bother 
when one discards it from one's repertoire. If these 
four pieces are not the most difficult pieces, they are 
certainly among the most difficult. 



THE PIANIST OP TO-MORROW 59 

WHY NOT SEEK THE BEAUTIFUL? 

"But why seek difficulty when there is so much that 
is quite as beautiful and yet not difficult? Why try 
to make a bouquet of oak trees when the ground is 
covered with exquisite flowers? The piano is a solo 
instrument and has its limitations. Some piano 
music is said to sound orchestral. As a matter of 
fact, a great deal of it would sound better with the 
orchestra. 

" Real piano music is rare. The piano appears to be 
too small for some of our modern Titans among the 
composers. When they write for the piano they seem 
to be exhibiting a concealed longing for the one 
hundred or more men of the modern orchestra. One 
of the reasons why the works of Debussy appeal to 
me is that he manages to put so much color into his 
piano pieces without suggesting the orchestra. Much 
of his music is wonderful in this respect, and, moreover, 
the musicians of the future will appreciate this fact 
more and more, 

EXERCISES THAT GIVE IMMEDIATE HELP 
"No one exercise can be depended upon to meet all 
the varied conditions which arise in the practice of the 
day, but I have frequently employed a simple exercise 
which seems to 'coax ? the hand into muscular activity 
in a very short time. It is so simple that I am diffi- 
dent about suggesting it. However, elemental proc- 
esses lead to large structures sometimes. The 



60 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

Egyptian pyramids were built ages before the age of 
steam and electricity, and scientists are still wondering 
how those massive stones were ever put in place. 

"The exercise I use most, apart from scales, is really 
based upon a principle which is constantly employed 
in all scale playing and in all piano playing, that of 
putting the thumb over and under the lingers. Did 
you ever stop to think how continually this is em- 
ployed? One hardly goes one step beyond the 
elemental grades before one encounters it. It de- 
mands a muscular action entirely different from that 
of pressing down the keys either with the finger, fore- 
arm or arm motion. 

" Starting with the above-named principle and 
devising new exercises to meet the very human need 
for variety, I play something like this: 



"The next form would employ another fingering 




L.B. 

"The next form might be 

H * R 




i -* 

utt 



THE PIANIST OF TO-MORROW 6l 

"These I transpose through several keys, for in- 
stance 

tt) B.& 




L.R 



"\\> =^= r ;- J>- ' " 

r tf 1 .1 * I 1 I * ^ 

"Note that I am not giving an arbitrary exercise, 
but simply suggesting the plan upon which the student 
may work. There is a great deal of fun in devising 
new exercises. It assists in helping the student to 
concentrate. Of course, these exercises are only at- 
tempted after all the standard exercises found in 
books have been exhausted. 

AVOID Too COMPLICATED EXERCISES 
"I often think that teachers make a great mistake 
by giving too complicated exercises. A complicated 
exercise leads away from dear thinking and concen- 
tration. The simple exercise will never seem dull or 
dry if the pupil's ambition is right. After all, it is 
not so much what is done as how it is done. Give 
less thought to the material and more to the correc- 
tion of the means with which one plays. There 
should be unceasing variety in studies. A change at 
every practice period is advisable, as it gives the pupil 
new material for thought. There are hundreds of 



62 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

different exercises in the different books, and the stu- 
dent has no reason for suffering for want of variety/' 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OP PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES II 

WILHELM BACHAUS 

1. Does the technical material of to-day differ 
greatly from that of forty or fifty years ago? 

2. State something of the efficacy of scales. 

3. State three sources of technical material sure 
to interest the student. 

4. Do celebrated virtuosos use scales regularly? 

5. State what else besides technical skill is re- 
quired in these days to gain recognition as a virtuoso 
pianist. 

6. Why does Rachmaninoff excel as a composer 
for pianoforte? 

7. State what may be considered the most difficult 
of piano compositions. 

8. Wherein does the appeal of Debussy He? 

9. Give some simple exercises suitable for daily 
practice. 

10. Why are too complicated exercises undesirable? 





to 



HAROLD BAUER 



HAROLD BAUER 
BIOGRAPHICAL 

Harold Bauer was born in London, England, April 
28, 1875, His father was an accomplished amateur 
violinist. Through him, the future virtuoso was 
enabled to gain an excellent idea of the beautiful 
literature of chamber music. When a boy Mr. 
Bauer studied privately with the celebrated violin 
teacher, Politzer. At the age of ten he became so 
proficient that he made his dflmt as a violinist in 
London, Thereafter in his tours of England he met 
with great success everywhere. 

In the artistic circles of London Mr, Bauer met a 
musician named Graham Moore, who gave him some 
idea upon the details of the technic of pianoforte 
playing, which Mr. Bauer had studied or rather 
"picked up" by himself, without any thought of ever 
abandoning his career as a violinist, Mr. Moore had 
expected to rehearse some orchestral accompaniments 
on a second piano with Paderewski, who was then 
preparing some concertos for public performance. 
Mr. Moore was taken ill and sent his talented musical 
friend, Mr, Bauer, in his place. Paderewski immedi- 
ately took an interest in his talented accompanist and 
advised him to go to Paris to continue his studies with 
Gorski. 

After many privations in Paris Mr. Bauer, unable 
to secure engagements as a violinist, went on a tour 
of Russia as an accompanist of a singer. In some of 
the smaller towns Bauer played an occasional piano 
solo. Returning to Paris, he found that he was still 
unable to secure engagements as a violinist His 
pianistic opportunity came when a celebrated virtuoso 
who was to play at a concert was taken ill and Bauer 
was asked to substitute. He gradually gave more 
attention to the piano and rose to a very high posi- 
tion in the tone world. 

63 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 
HAROLD BAUER 

THE IMMEDIATE RELATION or TECHNIC TO Music 
"WHILE it gives me great pleasure to talk to the 
great number of students studying the piano, I 
can assure you that it is with no little diffidence that 
I venture to approach these very subjects about 
which they are probably most anxious to learn. In 
the first place, words tell very little, and in the second 
place, my whole career has been so different from the 
orthodox methods that I have been constantly com- 
pelled to contrive means of my own to meet the 
myriads of artistic contingencies as they have arisen 
in my work. It is largely for this reason that I felt 
compelled recently to refuse a very flattering offer 
to write a book on piano playing* My whole life 
experience makes me incapable of perceiving what the 
normal methods of pianistic study should be- As a 
result of this I am obliged with my own pupils to 
invent continually new means and new plans for work 
with each student. 

"Without the conventional technical basis to work 
upon, this has necessarily resulted in several aspects 
of pianoforte study which are naturally somewhat 
different from the commonly accepted ideas of the 
technicians. In the first place, the only technical 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 65 

study of any kind I have ever done has been that 
technic which has had an immediate relation to the 
musical message of the piece I have been studying. 
In other words, I have never studied technic inde- 
pendently of music. I do not condemn the ordinary 
technical methods for those who desire to use them and 
see good in them. I fear, however, that I am unable 
to discuss them adequately, as they are outside of 
my personal experience. 

THE AIM or TECHNIC 

"When, as a result of circumstances entirely beyond 
my control, I abandoned the study of the violin in 
order to become a pianist, I was forced to realize, in 
view of my very imperfect technical equipment, that 
in order to take advantage of the opportunities that 
offered for public performance it would be necessary 
for me to find some means of making my playing 
acceptable without spending months and probably 
years in acquiring mechanical proficiency. The only 
way of overcoming the difficulty seemed to be to 
devote myself entirely to the musical essentials of 
the composition I was interpreting in the hope that 
the purely technical deficiencies which I had neither 
time nor knowledge to enable me to correct would 
pass comparatively unnoticed, provided I was able to 
give sufficient interest and compel sufficient attention 
to the emotional values of the work. This kind of 
study, forced upon me in the first instance through 
reasons of expediency, became a habit, and gradually 



66 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

grew into a conviction that it was a mistake to practice 
technic at all unless such practice should conduce 
to some definite : specific and immediate musical result. 

"I do not wish to be misunderstood in making this 
statement, containing, as it does, an expression of 
opinion that was formed in early years of study, but 
which, nevertheless, I have never since felt any reason 
to change. It is not my intention to imply that 
technical study is unnecessary, or that purely muscular 
training is to be neglected. I mean simply to say that 
in every detail of technical work the germ of musical 
expression must be discovered and cultivated, and that 
in muscular training for force and independence the 
simplest possible forms of physical exercises arc all 
that is necessary. 

"The singer and the violinist are always studying 
music j even when they practice a succession of single 
notes. Not so with the pianist, however, for an 
isolated note on the piano, whether played by the most 
accomplished artist or the man in the street, means 
nothing, absolutely nothing. 

SEEKING INDIVIDUAL EXPRESSION 
"At the time of which I speak, my greatest difficulty 
was naturally to give a constant and definite direction 
to my work and in my efforts to obtain a suitable 
muscular training which should enable me to produce 
expressive sounds, while I neglected no opportunity of 
closely observing the work of pianoforte teachers and 
students around me. I found that most of the tecbni- 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 67 

cal work which was being done with infinite pains and 
a vast expenditure of time was not only non-productive 
of expressive sounds, but actually harmful and mis- 
leading as regards the development of the musical 
sense. I could see no object in practicing evenness in 
scales, considering that a perfectly even scale is essen- 
tially devoid of emotional (musical) significance, I 
could see no reason for limiting tone production to a 
certain kind of sound that was called 'a good tone/ 
since the expression of feeling necessarily demands in 
many cases the use of relatively harsh sounds. More- 
over, I could see no reason for trying to overcome 
what are generally called natural defects, such as the 
comparative weakness of the fourth finger for example, 
as it seemed to me rather a good thing than otherwise 
that each finger should naturally and normally possess 
a characteristic motion of its own. 

"It is differences that count in art, not similarities. 
Every individual expression is a form of art; why not, 
then, make an artist of each finger by cultivating its 
special aptitudes instead of adapting a system of train- 
ing deliberately calculated to destroy these individual 
characteristics in bringing all the fingers to a common 
level of lifeless machines? 

''These and similar reflections, I discovered, were 
carrying me continually farther away from the ideals 
of most of the pianists, students and teachers with 
whom I was in contact, and it was not long before I 
definitely abandoned all hope of obtaining, by any 
of the means I found in use, the results for which I was 



68 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

striving. Consequently, from that time to the present 
my work has necessarily been more or less independent 
and empirical in its nature, and, while I trust I am 
neither prejudiced nor intolerant in my attitude to- 
wards pianoforte education in its general aspect, I 
cannot help feeling that a great deal of natural taste 
is stifled and a great deal of mediocrity created by the 
persistent and unintelligent study of such things as an 
'even scale' or a 'good tone/ 

"Lastly, it is quite incomprehensible to me why any 
one method of technic should be superior to any other, 
considering that as far as I was able to judge, no 
teacher or pupil ever claimed more for any technical 
system than that it gave more technical ability than 
some other technical system. I have never been able 
to convince myself, as a matter of fact, that one system 
does give more ability than another; but even if there 
were one infinitely superior to all the rest, it would 
still fail to satisfy me unless its whole aim and object 
were to facilitate musical expression. 

"Naturally, studying in this way required my 
powers of cgncentration to be trained to the very 
highest point. This matter of concentration is far 
more important than most teachers imagine, and the 
perusal of some standard work on psychology will 
reveal things which should help the student greatly, 
Many pupils make the mistake of thinking that only a 
certain kind of music demands concentration, whereas 
it is quite as necessary to concentrate the mind upon 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 69 

the playing of a simple scale as for the study of a 
Beethoven sonata. 

THE RESISTANCE OF THE MEDIUM 
"In every form of art the medium that is employed 
offers a certain resistance to perfect freedom of ex- 
pression, and the nature of this resistance must be 
fully understood before it can be overcome. The 
poet, the painter, the sculptor and the musician each 
has his own problem to solve, and the pianist in partic- 
ular is frequently brought to the verge of despair 
through the fact that the instrument, in requiring the 
expenditure of physical and nervous energy, absorbs, 
so to speak, a large proportion of the intensity which 
the music demands. 

"With many students the piano is only a barrier 
a wall between them and music. Their thoughts 
never seem to penetrate farther than the keys. They 
plod along for years apparently striving to make 
piano-playing machines of themselves, and in the end 
result in becoming something rather inferior* 

" Conditions are doubtless better now than in former 
years. Teachers give studies with some musical value, 
and the months, even years, of keyboard grind without 
the least suggestion of anything musical or gratifying 
to the natural sense of the beautiful are very probably 
a thing of the past. But here again I fear the teachers 
in many cases make a perverted use of studies and 
pieces for technical purposes. If we practice a piece 
of real music with no other idea than that of develop- 



70 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ing some technical point it often ceases to become a 
piece of music and results in being a kind of technical 
machinery. Once a piece is mechanical it is difficult 
to make it otherwise. All the cogs, wheels ; bolts and 
screws which an overzealous ambition to become per- 
fect technically has built up are made so evident that 
only the most patient and enduring kind of an audi- 
ence can tolerate them, 

THE PERVERSION OF STUDIES 
"People talk about 'using the music of Bach 1 to 
accomplish some technical purpose in a perfectly 
heart-breaking manner. They never seem to think 
of interpreting Bach, but, rather, make of him a kind 
of technical elevator by means of which they hope to 
reach some marvelous musical heights. Wo even hear 
of the studies of Chopin being perverted in a similarly 
vicious manner, but Bach, the master of masters, k 
the greatest sufferer. 

"It has become a truism to say that technic is only 
a means to an end, but I very much doubt if this 
assertion should be accepted without question, 
suggesting as it does the advisability of studying some- 
thing that is not music and which is believed at some 
future time to be capable of being marvelously trans- 
formed into an artistic expression. Properly under- 
stood, kchnic is art f and must be studied as such. 
There should be no technic in music which is not music 
in itself. 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 71 

THE UNIT OF MUSICAL EXPRESSION 
"The piano is, of all instruments, the least expressive 
naturally, and it is of the greatest importance that the 
student should realize the nature of its resistance. 
The action of a piano is purely a piece of machinery 
where the individual note has no meaning. When the 
key is once struck and the note sounded there is a 
completed action and the note cannot then be modified 
nor changed in the least. The only thing over which 
the pianist has any control is the length of the tone, 
and this again may not last any longer than the natural 
vibrations of the strings, although it may be shortened 
by relinquishing the keys. It makes no difference 
whether the individual note is struck by a child or by 
Paderewski it has in itself no expressive value. In 
the case of the violin, the voice and all other instru- 
ments except the organ, the individual note may be 
modified after it is emitted or struck, and in this modi- 
fication is contained the possibility of a whole world 
of emotional expression. 

"Our sole means of expression, thfen, in piano play- 
ing lies in the relation of one note to the other notes in 
a series or in a chord. Herein lies the difficulty, the 
resistance to perfect freedom of which I have spoken 
before, the principal subject for intelligence and care- 
ful study, and yet so few students appear to under- 
stand it. Their great effort seems to be to make all 
the noise in a given series as much alike as coins from 
a mint They come to the piano as their only instru- 



72 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ment, and never seek to take a lesson from the voice 
or from the other instruments which have expressive 
resources infinitely superior to those possessed by the 
piano. The principal charm of the piano lies in the 
command which the player has over many voices 
singing together.- But until the pianist has a regard 
for the individual voice in its relation to the ensemble 
he has no means with which to make his work really 
beautiful. 

" There is a great need for more breadth in music 
study. This, as I know, has been said very often, but 
it does not hurt to say it again. The more a man 
knows, the more he has experienced, the wider his 
mental vision in all branches of human information, 
the more he will have to say. We need men in music 
with big minds, wide grasp and definite aims. Musi- 
cians are far too prone to become overspecialfoed. 
They seem to have an unquenchable thirst to master 
the jargon and the infinite variety of methods which 
are thrust upon us in these days rather than a genu- 
ine desire to develop their musical aims. Music is 
acquiring a technology as confusing and as extensive 
as bacteriology. There seems to be no end to the new 
kinds of methods in the minds of furtive and fertile 
inventors. Each new method in turn seems to breed 
another, and so on ad nauseam. 

"Among other things I would suggest the advisa- 
bility for pianists to cultivate some knowledge of the 
construction of their instrument. Strange as it may 
seem, it is nevertheless a fact that the average pianist 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 73 

knows practically nothing of a piano, being in many 
cases entirely unaware of such simple things as how 
the tone is produced. The function of the pedals is 
as unknown to them as geology is to the coal heaver. 
This ignorance leads frequently to the employment 
of motions and methods that can only be characterized 
as ridiculous in the extreme, 

Music FIRST, THE INSTRUMENT AITERWABDS 
"From the manner in which many ambitious and 
earnest students play, it would seem that they had 
their minds fixed upon something which could not be 
conveyed to the world in any other form than that of 
the sounds which come from the piano. Of course, the 
piano has an idiom peculiarly its own, and some com- 
posers have employed this idiom with such natural 
freedom that their music suffers when transposed for 
any other instrument. The music of Chopin is pecul- 
iarly pianistic, but it is, first of all, music, and any one 
of the wonderful melodies which came from the fertile 
brain of the Polish-French genius could be played 
upon one of many different instruments besides the 
piano. The duty of the interpreter should surely be to 
think of the composition as such, and to interpret it 
primarily as music, irrespective of the instrument. 
Some students sit down before the keyboard to 'play J 
the piano precisely as though they were going to play 
a game of cards. They have learned certain rules 
governing the game, and they do not dare disobey 
these rules. They riifrt. of rules rather than of the 



74 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ultimate result the music itself. The Idiom of the 
Italian language is appropriate here. The Italians do 
not say 'I play the piano/ but rather f l sound the 
piano. 7 (Suono il pianoforte.) If we had a little 
more 'sounding' of the piano, that is, producing 
real musical effects, and a little less playing on ivory 
keys, the playing of our students would be more 
interesting. 

VARIETY THE SPICE OP ART 
"It can hardly be questioned that the genesis of all 
musical art is to be found in song, the most natural, 
the most fluent and the most beautiful form of musical 
expression. How much every instrumentalist can 
learn from the art of singing! 

"It is a physical impossibility for the voice to pro- 
duce two notes in succession exactly alike. They 
may sound very similar, but there is a difference quite 
perceptible to the highly trained ear. When a singer 
starts a phrase a certain amount of motive power is 
required to set the vocal apparatus in vibration, After 
the first note has been attacked with the full force of 
the breath, there is naturally not so much weight or 
pressure left for the following notes. It is, however, 
possible for the second note to be as loud, or even 
louder, than the first note. But in order to obtain 
the additional force on the second note, it is neces- 
sary to compensate for the lack of force due to the loss 
of the original weight or pressure by increasing what 
might be called the nervous energy; that is to say, 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 75 

by expelling the breath with proportionately greater 
speed. 

MUSCULAR AND NERVOUS ENERGY 
"The manifestation of nervous energy in this man- 
ner is quite different from the manifestation of mus- 
cular energy, although both are, of course, intimately 
connected. Muscular energy begins at its maximum 
and gradually diminishes to the point of exhaustion, 
whereas nervous energy rises in an inconceivably 
short space of time to its climax, and then drops 
immediately to nothing. Nervous energy may be 
said to be represented by an increased rapidity of 
emission. It is what the athlete would call a 'spurt.' 
"What I have said about the voice applies equally 
to all other instruments, the piano and the organ alone 
excepted. It is obvious that the playing of the wind 
instruments must be subjected to the limitations of the 
breath, and in the case of the violin and the other 
stringed instruments, where the bow supplies the 
motive power, it is impossible for two notes played in 
succession to sound absolutely alike. If the first 
note of a phrase is attacked with the weight of the 
whole bow behind it, the second note will follow with 
just so much less weight, and if the violinist desires to 
intensify any of the succeeding tones, he must do so 
by the employment of the nervous energy I have men- 
tioned, when a difference in the quality of tone is 
bound to result. The pianist should closely observe 
and endeavor to imitate these characteristics, which so 



76 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

vividly convey the idea of organic life in all its infinite 
variety, and which are inherent in every medium for 
artistic expression. 

PHRASING AND BREATHING 
"It would take a book, and by no means a small one, 
to go into this matter of phrasing which I am now 
discussing. Even in such a book there would doubtless 
be many points which would be open to assaults for 
sticklers in psychological technology. I am not 
issuing a propaganda or writing a thesis for the purpose 
of having something to defend, but merely giving a 
few offhand facts that have benefited me in my 
work. However, it is my conviction that it is the 
duty of the pianist to try to understand the analog}' 
to the physical limitations which surround the more 
natural mediums of musical expression the voice 
and the violin and to apply the result of his obser- 
vations to his piano playing, 

THE NATURAL EFFECT OF EMOTIONS 
"There is another relation between phrasing and 
breathing which the student may investigate to 
advantage. The emotions have a direct and imme- 
diate effect upon the breath, and as the brain informs 
the nervous system of new emotional impressions 
the visible evidences may be first observed in the 
breathing. It is quite unnecessary to go into the 
physiology or psychology of this, but a little reflection 
will immediately indicate what I mean. 



ARTISTIC ASPECTS OF PIANO STUDY 77 

"It is impossible to witness a disastrous accident 
without showing mental agitation and excitement in 
hurried breathing. Joy, anger, fear, love, tranquillity 
and grief all are characterized by different modes of 
breathing, and a trained actor must study this with 
great closeness. 

"The artist at the piano may be said to breathe 
his phrases. A phrase that is purely contemplative 
in character is breathed in a tranquil fashion with- 
out any suggestion of nervous agitation. If we go 
through the scale of expression, starting with con- 
templative tranquillity, to the climax of dramatic 
intensity, the breath will be emitted progressively 
quicker and quicker. Every musical phrase has 
some kind of expressive message to deliver. If a 
perfectly tranquil phrase is given out in a succession 
of short breaths, indicating, as they would, agitation, 
it would be a contradiction, just as it would be per- 
fectly inhuman to suppose that in expressing dramatic 
intensity it would be possible to breathe slowly. 

"In conclusion, I would urge students to cultivate 
a very definite mental attitude as to what they really 
desire to accomplish. Do you wish to make music? 
If so, think music, and nothing but music, all the 
time, down to the smallest detail even in technic. 
Is your ambition to play scales, octaves, double notes 
and trills? Then by all means concentrate your mind 
on them to the exclusion of everything else, but do 
not be surprised if, when, later on, you want to com- 
municate a semblance of life to your mechanical 



78 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

motions, you succeed in obtaining no more than the 
jerky movements of a clock-work puppet. " 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES in 

HAROLD BAUER 

1. What is the nature of the technical study done 
by Harold Bauer? 

2. Should immediate musical results be sought in 
technical study? 

3. Upon what principle is expression in art based? 

4. Is the utmost concentration necessary in all 
piano playing? 

5. How may the piano become a barrier between 
the student and musical expression? 

6. In what spirit should all studies be played? 

7. Is the piano an expressive instrument? 

8. Should pianists acquire a knowledge of the main 
feature in the construction of their instrument? 

9. How may variety in piano playing be achieved? 
10. How is phrasing related to breathing? 





F. BLOOMFIELD-ZEISLER 



FANNY BLOOMFIELD-ZEISLER 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Mrs. Fanny Bloomfield-Zeisler was born at Beilitz, 
Austrian Silesia, July 16, 1866. Two years later 
her parents took her to Chicago. Her first teachers 
in Chicago were Bernhard Ziehn and Carl Wolfsohn. 
At the age of ten she made a profound impression at a 
public concert in Chicago. Two years later she had 
the good fortune to meet Mme. Essipoff, who advised 
her to go to Vienna to study with Theodore Lesche- 
tizky. Accordingly she was taken to the Austrian 
capital and remained under the instruction of the noted 
pedagogue for five years. Starting with the year 1883, 
she commenced a series of annual recitals and con- 
certs in different American cities which made her very 
famous. In 1893 she toured Europe, attracting even 
more attention than in the homeland. Since then she 
made several tours of Europe and America, arousing 
great enthusiasm wherever she appeared. Her emo- 
tional force, her personal magnetism and her keen 
processes of analysis compelled critics everywhere to 
rank her with the foremost pianists of the day. 



VI 

APPEARING IN PUBLIC 

FANNY BLOOMFIELD-ZEISLER 

"THE secret of success in the career of a virtuoso 
is not easily defined. Many elements have to be con- 
sidered. Given great talent, success is not by any 
means assured. Many seemingly extraneous qual- 
ities must be cultivated; many mistakes must be 
avoided. 

"Let me start out with a caution. No greater mis- 
take could possibly be made than to assume that 
frequent public appearances or extended concert 
touring in early youth is essential to a great career 
as a virtuoso. On the contrary, I would say that 
such a course is positively harmful. The 'experi- 
ence' of frequent playing in public is essential if one 
would get rid of stage fright or undue nervousness 
and would gain that repose and self-confidence with- 
out which success is impossible. But such experi- 
ence should be had only after the attainment of 
physical and mental maturity. A young boy or girl, 
though ever so much of a prodigy, if taken on an ex- 
tensive concert tour, not only becomes unduly self- 
conscious, conceited, vain and easily satisfied with his 
or her work, but and this is the all-important point 
runs the risk of undermining his or her health. The 
precious days of youth should be devoted primarily to 

80 



APPEARING IN PUBLIC 8l 

the storing up of health, without which lasting success is 
impossible. Nothing is more harmful to sound physical 
development and mental growth than the strain of 
extensive tours. It is true that one great virtuoso 
now before the public pkyed frequently before large 
audiences as an infant prodigy. But, happily, wise 
and efficient influences served to check this mad 
career. The young artist was placed in the hands of a 
great teacher and given a chance to reach full physical 
maturity and artistic stature before resuming public 
appearances. Had it been otherwise, it is a matter 
of common belief that this great talent would have 
fizzled out. 

" By this I do not mean that the pupil should be 
prevented from playing at recitals in the home city. 
Playing of this kind gives the pupil confidence and 
smooths the way for his work as a mature artist, 
These performances should be rare, except in the 
case of performances given in the home of the pupil 
or at the teacher's home. What I object to is the 
exploitation on a large scale of the infant prodigy. 

THOROUGH PREPARATION NECESSARY 
" One of the real secrets of success in public appear- 
ance is thorough preparation. In fact there is no 
talisman, no secret that one can pass over to an- 
other and say, 'Here is my secret, go thou and do 
likewise/ What a valuable secret it would be the 
mysterious secret processes of the Krupp Gun Works 
in Germany would be trifling in comparison. Genu- 



82 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ine worth is, after all, the great essential, and thorough 
preparation leads to genuine worth. For instance, 
I have long felt that the mental technic that the study 
of Bach's inventions and fugues afford could not be 
supplied by any other means. The peculiar poly- 
phonic character of these works trains the mind to 
recognize the separate themes so ingeniously and 
beautifully interwoven and at the same time the 
fingers receive a kind of discipline which hardly any 
other study can secure. 

" The layman can hardly conceive how difficult it 
is to play at the same time two themes different in 
character and running in opposite directions. The 
student fully realizes this difficulty when he finds that 
it takes years to master it. These separate themes 
must be individualized; they must be conceived as 
separate, but their bearing upon the work as a whole 
must never be overlooked. 

" The purity of style to be found in Bach, in con- 
nection with his marvelous contrapuntal designs, 
should be expounded to the student at as early an 
age as his intellectual development will permit. It 
may take some time to create a taste for Bach, but 
the teacher will be rewarded with results so sub- 
stantial and permanent that all the trouble and time 
will seem well worth while. 

" There is also a refining influence about which I 
would like to speak, The practice of Bach seems 
to fairly grind off the rough edges, and instead of 
a raw, bungling technic the student acquires a kind 



APPEARING IN PUBLIC 83 

of finish from the study of the old master of Eisenach 
that nothing else can give him, 

"I do not mean to be understood that the study of 
Bach, even if it be ever so thorough, suffices in itself 
to give one a perfect technic. Vastly more is 
necessary. The student who would fit himself for 
a concert career must have the advice of a great 
teacher and must work incessantly and conscientiously 
under his guidance. I emphasize the study of Bach 
merely because I find it is not pursued as much as it 
deserves. That technical finish is of the very essence 
of success in public appearance, goes without saying. 
It is not only indispensable for a creditable perform- 
ance, but the consciousness of possessing it contrib- 
utes to that confidence of the player without which 
he cannot hope to make an impression upon his 
audience. 

LESCHETIZKY AND 'METHOD' 

" Speaking about teachers reminds me to put forth 
this caution: Do not, pin your faith "to a method. 
There is good and, alas! some bad in most methods. 
We hear a great deal these days about the Lesche- 
tizky method. During the five years I was with 
Leschetizky, he made it very plain that he had up 
fixed method in the ordinary sense of the word. Like 
every good teacher, he studied the individuality of 
each pupil and taught him according to that indi- 
viduality. It might almost be said that he had a 
different method for each pupil, and I have often 



84 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

said that Leschetizky's method is to have no fixed 
method. Of course, there are certain preparatory 
exercises which with slight variations he wants all his 
pupils to go through. But it is not so much the 
exercises in themselves as the patience and painful 
persistence in executing them to which they owe their 
virtue. Of course, Leschetizky has his preference 
for certain works for their great educational value. 
He has his convictions 35 to the true interpretation to 
be given to the various compositions, but those do not 
form what may properly be called a method. Per- 
sonally, I am rather skeptical when anybody announces 
that he teaches any particular method. Leschetizky, 
without any particular method, is a great force by 
virtue of his tremendously interesting personality 
and his great qualities as an artist. He is himself a 
never-ending source of inspiration. At eighty he 
was still a youth, full of vitality and enthusiasm. 
Some student, diffident but worthy, was always 
encouraged; another was incited by sarcasm; still 
another was scolded outright. Practical illustration 
on the piano, showing 'how not to do it/ telling of 
pertinent stories to elucidate a point, are among the 
means which he constantly employed to bring out the 
best that was in his pupils. A good teacher cannot in- 
sure success and Leschetizky has naturally had 
many pupils who will never become great virtuosos. 
It was never in the pupils and, no matter how great 
the teacher, he cannot create talent that does not exist, 
"The many books published upon the Leschetia- 



APPEARING IN PUBLIC 85 

ky system by his assistants have merit, but they by 
no means constitute a Leschetizky system* They 
simply give some very rational preparatory exercise 
that the assistants give in preparing pupils for the 
master. Leschetizky himself laughs when one speaks 
of his ' method' or c system.' 

" Success in public appearance will never come 
through any system or method except that which 
works toward the end of making a mature and genuine 
artist. 

WELL-SELECTED PROGRAMS 
"Skill in the arrangement of an artist's programs 
has much to do with his success. This matter has 
two distinct aspects. Firstly, the program must 
look attractive, and secondly, it must sound well in 
the rendition. When I say the program must look 
attractive, I mean that it must contain works which 
interest concert-goers. It should be neither entirely 
conventional, nor should it contain novelties exclu- 
sively. The classics should be represented, because 
the large army of students expect to be especially 
benefited by hearing these performed by a great artist. 
Novelties must be placed on the program to make 
it attractive to the maturer habitu6s of the concert 
room. 

"But more important, to my mind, is the other 
aspect of program making which I have mentioned. 
There must be contrasts in the character and tonal 
nature of the compositions played. They must be so 



86 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

grouped that the interest of the hearers will be not 
only sustained to the end, but will gradually in- 
crease, It goes without saying that each composition 
should have merit and worth as musical literature. 
But beyond that, there should be variety in the char- 
acter of the different compositions: the classic, the 
romantic, and the modern compositions should all be 
given representation. To play several slow movements 
or several vivacious movements in succession would 
tend to tire the listener. Anti-climaxes should be 
avoided. 

"It may truly be said that program making is in 
itself a high art. It is difficult to give advice on this 
subject by any general statement, Generalizations 
are too often misleading. I would advise the young 
artist to study carefully the programs of the most 
successful artists and to attempt to discover the prin- 
ciple underlying their arrangement. 

" One thing which should never be forgotten is that 
the object of a concert is not merely to show off 
the skill of the performer ? but to instruct, entertain 
and elevate the audience. The bulk of the program 
should be composed of standard works, but novelties 
of genuine worth should be given a place on the pro- 
gram. 

PERSONALITY 

"The player's personality is of inestimable impor- 
tance in winning the approval of the public, I do 
not refer particularly to personal beauty, although it 



APPEARING IN PUBLIC 87 

cannot be doubted that a pleasing appearance is help- 
ful in conquering an audience. What I mean is 
sincerity, individuality, temperament. What we 
vaguely describe as magnetism is often possessed by 
players who can lay no particular claim to personal 
beauty. Some players seem fairly to hypnotize their 
audiences yes, hypnotize them. This is not done by 
practicing any species of black art, or by consciously 
following any psychological formula, but by the sheer 
intensity of feeling of the artist at the moment of 
performance. 

"The great performer in such moments of passion 
forgets himself entirely. He is in a sort of artistic 
trance. Technical mastery of the composition being 
presupposed, the artist need not and does not give 
thought to the matter of playing the notes correctly, 
but, re-creating in himself what he feels to have been 
the mood of the composer, re-creates the composition 
itself. It is this kind of playing which establishes 
an invisible cord, connecting the player's and the 
hearers' hearts, and, swayed himself by the feelings of 
the moment, he sways his audience. He makes the 
music he draws from the instrument supreme in every 
soul in the audience; his feeling and passion are con- 
tagious and carry the audience away. These are the 
moments, not only of the greatest triumph, but of 
the greatest exultation for the artist; He who cannot 
thus sway audiences will never rise above mediocrity. 



88 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

Do NOT ATTEMPT THE IMPOSSIBLE 
"To those who are still in the preparatory stage 
of development I am glad to give one word of advice. 
Do not play pieces that are away beyond your grasp. 
This is the greatest fault in our American musical 
educational systems of to-day. Pupils are permitted 
to play works that are technically impossible for 
them to hope to execute without years of preparation. 
What a huge blunder this is! 

"The pupil comes to the teacher, let us say, with 
the Second Hungarian Rhapsody of Liszt. It takes 
some fortitude for the conscientious teacher to tell the 
pupil that she should work with the C Major Sonata 
of Haydn instead. The pupil, with a kind of confi- 
dence that is, to say the least, dangerous, imagines that 
the teacher is trying to keep her back, and often goes 
to another teacher who will gratify her whim* 

"American girls think that they can do everything. 
Nothing is beyond them. This is a country of great 
accomplishment, and they do not realize that in music 
'Art is long. ' The virtuoso comes to a great metrop- 
olis and plays a Moszkowski concerto of great difficulty. 
The next day the music stores exhaust their stocks 
of this work, and a dozen misses, who might with 
difficulty play a Mendelssohn Song With Word$> 
are buried in the avalanche of technical impossibili- 
ties that the alluring concerto provides. 



APPEARING IN PUBLIC 89 

FOREIGN DEBUTS 

" Unfortunately, a foreign d&nA seems to be neces- 
sary for the artist who would court the favor of 
the American public. Foreign pianists get engage- 
ments long before their managers in America ever 
hear them. In the present state of affairs, if an 
American pianist were to have the ability of three 
Liszts and three Rubinsteins in one person, he could 
only hope for meager reward if he did not have a 
great European reputation behind him. 

" The condition is absurd and regrettable, but never- 
theless true. We have many splendid teachers in 
America as fine as there are in the world. 

"We have in our larger cities musical audiences 
whose judgment is as discriminating as that of the best 
European audiences. Many an artist with a great 
European reputation has come to this country, and, 
failing Ho make good' in the judgment of our critics 
and audiences, went back with his reputation seriously 
impaired. Nevertheless, as I have stated, the 
American artist without a European reputation, 
has no drawing power and therefore does not interest 
the managers and the piano manufacturers, who nowa- 
days have largely supplanted the managers. This 
being so, I can only advise the American artist to do 
as others had to do. Go to Europe; give a few 
concerts in Berlin, London, Vienna or Paris. Let 
the concert director who arranges your concerts 
paper the house, but be sure you get a few critics in 



90 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

the audience. Have your criticisms translated, and 
get them republished in American papers. Then, if 
you have real merit, you may get a chance. 

"The interest in music in the United States at the 
present time is phenomenal. European peoples 
have no conception of it. Nowhere in the world can 
such interest be found. Audiences in different parts 
of the country do not differ very greatly from the 
standpoint of intelligent appreciation. When we 
consider the great uncultured masses of peasants in 
Europe and the conditions of our own fanners, 
especially in the West, there is no basis of comparison. 
America is already a musical country, a very musical 
country. It is only in its failure to properly support 
native musicians that we are subject to criticism. 

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS 

"To the young man or woman who would learn 
'The Secret of Public Appearance ' I would say: 

" i. Look deeply into your natural qualifications. 
Use every morsel of judgment you possess to en* 
deavor to determine whether you are talented or 
simply 'clever' at music. Court the advice of un- 
biased professional musicians and meditate upon the 
difficulties leading to a successful career, and do not 
decide to add one more musician to the world until 
you are confident of your suitability for the work. 
Remember that this moment of decision is a very 
important time and that you may be upon the thresh- 
old of a dangerous mistake. Remember that there 



APPEARING IN PUBLIC pi 

are thousands of successful and happy teachers for 
one successful virtuoso. 

" 2. After you have determined to undertake the 
career of the concert performer let nothing stand 
in the way of study, except the consideration of 
your health. Success with a broken-down body 
and a shattered mind is a worthless conquest. Re- 
member that if you wish a permanent position you 
must be thoroughly trained in all branches of your 
art. 

" 3. Avoid charlatanism and the kind of advertise- 
ment that will bring you notoriety at the sacrifice of 
your self-respect and the respect of your best friends. 
Remember that real worth is, after all, the thing that 
brings enduring fame. 

"4. Study the public. Seek to find out what 
pleases it, but never lower the standards of your art. 
Read the best literature. Study pictures. Travel. 
Broaden your mind. Acquire general culture. 

" 5. Be careful of your stage deportment. En- 
deavor to do nothing at the keyboard that will em- 
phasize any personal eccentricity. Always be sin- 
cere and true to your own nature, but within these 
limits try to make a pleasing impression. 

"6. Always be your own severest critic. Be not 
easily satisfied with yourself. Hitch your wagon to 
a star. Let your standard of perfection be the very 
highest. Always strive to reach that standard. 
Never play in public a piece that you have not 
thoroughly mastered. There is nothing more valuable 



92 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

than public confidence. Once secured, it is the great- 
est asset an artist can possess. 

"I have repeatedly been asked to give ten rules for 
practice. 

"It is not possible to formulate ten all-comprehen- 
sive rules that could be applied in every case, but the 
following suggestions will be found valuable to many 
students: 

" i . Concentrate during every second of your prac- 
tice. To concentrate means to bring all your think- 
ing powers to bear upon one central point with the 
greatest possible intensity. Without such concentra- 
tion nothing can be accomplished during the practice 
period. One hour of concentrated thinking is worth 
weeks of thoughtless practice. It is safe to say that 
years are being wasted by students in this country 
who fail to get the most out of their practice because 
they do not know how to concentrate. A famous 
thinker has said: 'The evidence of superior genius 
is the power of intellectual concentration. ' 

" 2. Divide your practice time into periods of not 
more than two hours. You will find it impossible to 
concentrate properly if you attempt to practice more 
than two hours at a time. Do not have an arbitrary 
program of practice work, for this course is liable to 
make your work monotonous. For one who practices 
four hours (and that is enough for almost any student), 
one hour for purely technical work, one hour for Bach, 
and two hours for pieces is to be recommended. 
"3. In commencing your practice, play over your 



APPEASING IN PUBLIC 93 

piece once or twice before beginning to memorize. 
Then, after working through the entire composition, 
pick out the more difficult passages for special at- 
tention and reiteration. 

"4. Always practice slowly at first. This is 

**" * * ", /' <*+ ***"* w ~ 

simply another way of telling the pupil to concentrate. 
Even after you have played your piece at the re- 
quired speed and with reasonable confidence that it 
is correct, never fail to go back now and then and 
play it at the speed at which you learned it. This 
is a practice which many virtuosos follow. Pieces 
that they have played time and time again before 
enthusiastic audiences are re-studied by playing them 
very slowly. This is the only real way to undo mis- 
takes that are bound to creep into one's performance 
when pieces are constantly played in a rapid tempo. 

" 5. Do not attempt to practice your whole piece 
at first. Take a small section or even a phrase. If 
you take a longer section than say sixteen bars, you 
will find it difficult to avoid mistakes. Of course, when 
the piece is mastered you should have all these sec- 
tions so unified that you can play the entire com- 
position smoothly and without a break. 

" 6. First memorize mentally the section you have 
selected for study, and then practice it. If you do 
not know it well enough to practice it from memory, 
you have not grasped its musical content, but are 
playing mechanically. 

"7. Occasionally memorize backwards, that is, 
take the last few measures and learn them thoroughly, 



94 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

then take the preceding measures and continue in 
this way until the whole is mastered. Even after 
you have played the piece many times, this process 
often compels a concentration that is beneficial. 

"8. When studying, remember that practice is 
simply a means of cultivating habits. If you play 
correctly from the start you will form good habits; 
if you play carelessly and faultily your playing 
will grow continually worse. Consequently, play so 
slowly and correctly from the start that you may 
insure the right fingering, phrasing, tone, touch 
(staccato, legato, portamento, etc.), pedaling and 
dynamic effects. If you postpone the attainment of 
any of these qualities to a later date they are much 
more difficult to acquire. 

" 9. Always listen while you are playing, Music is 
intended to be heard. If you do not listen to your 
own playing it is very probable that other people 
will not care to listen to it either. 
, " 10. Never attempt to play anything in public 
that you have just finished studying. When you arc 
through working upon a piece, put it away to be 
musically digested, then after some time repeat the 
same process, and again the third time, when your 
piece will have become a part of yourself," 



APPEARING IN PUBLIC 95 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES IV 
FANNY BLOOMFIELD-ZEISLER 

i. How should the public appearances of talented 
children be controlled? 

2* What is the best material for the development 
of a mental technic? 

3. Should one pin one's faith to any one method? 

4. What combines to make a program attractive? 

5. What should be artist's main object in giving 
a concert? 

6. What part does personality play in the per- 
former's success? 

7. What is one of the greatest faults in musical 
educational work in America? 

8. How should practice time be divided? 

9. May one memorize "backwards"? 
10. Why should one listen while playing? 



FERRUCCIO BENVENUTO BUSONI 

BlOGEAPKECAL 

Ferruccio Benvenuto Busoni was born at Empoli, 
near Florence, Italy, April i, 1866. His father was a 
clarinetist and his mother whose maiden name was 
Weiss, indicating her German ancestry was an ex- 
cellent pianist. His first teachers were his parents. 
So pronounced was his talent that he made his dbut 
at the age of eight in Vienna, Austria. He then stud- 
ied in the Austrian city of Graz with W. A. Remy, 
whose right name was Dr. Wilhelm Mayer. This 
able teacher aside from being a learned jurist was also 
devoted to music and had among his other pupils 
no less a person than Felix Weingartnen 

In 1881 Busoni toured Italy and was made a mem- 
ber of the Reale Accademia Filharmonica at Bologna* 
In 1886 he went to reside at Leipsic. Two years 
later he became teacher of pianoforte at the Helsing- 
fors Conservatory in the Finnish capital. In 1890 
he captured the famous Rubinstein prizes for both 
pianoforte and composition. In the same year he 
became Professor of pianoforte playing at the Moscow 
Imperial Conservatory. The next year he accepted 
a similar position in the New England Conservatory 
at Boston, returning to Europe for another tour in 
1893. After many successful tours he accepted the 
position of director of the Meister-schule at the 
Imperial Conservatory in Vienna. His compositions 
include over one hundred published opus numbers, 
the most pretentious probably being his Choral 
Concerto. His editions of Bach are masterpieces of 
technical and artistic erudition. 

(The following Conference was conducted in 
English.) 



FERRUCCIO B. BUSONI 



vn 

IMPORTANT DETAILS IN PIANO STUDY 

FERRUCCIO BENVENUTO BUSONI 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DETAIL 
"SOME years ago I met a very famous artist whose 
celebrity rested upon the wonderful colored glass win- 
dows that he had produced. He was considered by 
most of his contemporaries the greatest of all makers 
of high-art windows. His fame had extended through- 
out the artistic circles of all Europe. A little remark 
he made to me illustrates the importance of detail 
better than anything of which I can think at present. 
"He said ? 'If a truly great work of art in the form 
of a stained glass window should be accidentally 
shattered to little bits, one should be able to estimate 
the greatness of the whole window by examining one 
of the fragments even though all the other pieces were 
missing.' 

"In fine piano playing all of the details are im- 
portant. I do not mean to say that if one were in 
another room that one could invariably tell the 
ability of an artist by hearing him strike one note, 
but if the note is heard in relation to the other notes 
in a composition, its proportionate value should be 
so delicately and artistically estimated by the highly 
trained performer, that it forms part of the artistic 
whole. 

7 97 



98 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

"For instance, it is quite easy to conceive of com- 
positions demanding a very smooth running per- 
formance in which one jarring or harsh note indi- 
cating faulty artistic calculation upon the part of 
the player would ruin the entire interpretation. As 
examples of this one might cite the Bach Choral Vor-> 
spiel, Nun Freut euch, of which I have made an ar- 
rangement, and such a composition as the Chopin 
Prelude Opus 28, No. 3, with its running accom- 
paniment in the left hand. 

"It is often perfection in little things which dis- 
tinguishes the performance of the great pianist from 
that of the novice. The novice usually manages to 
get the so-called main points, but he does not work 
for the little niceties of interpretation which are 
almost invariably the defining characteristic of the 
interpretations of the real artist that is, the per- 
former who has formed the habit of stopping at noth- 
ing short of his highest ideal of perfection. 

LEARNING TO LISTEN 

"There is a detail which few students observe which 
is of such vast importance that one is tempted to say 
that the main part of successful musical progress 
depends upon it. This is the detail of learning to 
listen. Every sound that is produced during the 
practice period should be heard. That is, it should 
be heard with ears open to give that sound the intelli- 
gent analysis which it deserves. 

"Anyone who has observed closely and taught 



IMPORTANT DETAILS IN PIANO STUDY 99 

extensively must have noticed that hours and hours 
are wasted by students strumming away on key- 
boards and giving no more attention to the sounds 
they produce than would the inmates of a deaf and 
dumb asylum. These students all expect to become 
fine performers even though they may not aim to 
become virtuosos. To them the piano keyboard is 
a kind of gymnasium attached to a musical instru- 
ment. They may of course acquire strong fingers, 
but they will have to learn to listen before they can 
hope to become even passable performers. 

"At my own recitals no one in the audience listens 
more attentively than I do. I strive to hear every 
note and while I am playing my attention is so con- 
centrated upon the one purpose of delivering the 
work in the most artistic manner dictated by the 
composer's demands and my conception of the piece, 
that I am little conscious of anything else. I have 
also learned that I must continually have my mind 
alert to opportunities for improvement. I am always 
in quest of new beauties and even while playing in 
public it is possible to conceive of new details that 
come like revelations. 

"The artist who has reached the period when he 
fails to be on the outlook for details of this kind and 
is convinced that in no possible way could his per- 
formances be improved, has reached a very dangerous 
stage of artistic stagnation which will result in the 
ruin of his career. There is always room for improve- 
ment, that is the development of new details, and it is 



100 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

this which gives zest and intellectual interest to the 
work of the artist. Without it his public efforts would 
become very tame and unattractive. 

SELF DEVELOPMENT 

"In my own development as an artist it has been 
made evident to me, time and time again, that suc- 
cess comes from the careful observance of details. 
All students should strive to estimate their own 
artistic ability very accurately. A wrong estimate 
always leads to a dangerous condition. If I had 
failed to attend to certain details many years ago, I 
would have stopped very far short of anything like 
success. 

"I remember that when I concluded my term as 
professor of piano at the New England Conservatory 
of Music I was very conscious of certain deficiencies 
in my style. Notwithstanding the fact that I had 
been accepted as a virtuoso in Europe and in America 
and had toured with great orchestras such as the 
Boston Symphony Orchestra, I knew better than 
anyone else that there were certain details in my play- 
ing that I could not afford to neglect. 

"For instance, I knew that my method of playing 
the trill could be greatly improved and I also knew 
that I lacked force and endurance in certain pas- 
sages. Fortunately, although a comparatively young 
man, I was not deceived by the flattery of well- 
meaning, but incapable critics, who were quite will- 
ing to convince me that my playing was as perfect as 



IMPORTANT DETAILS IN PIANO STUDY 101 

it was possible to make it. Every seeker of artistic 
truth is more widely awake to his own deficiencies 
than any of his critics could possibly be. 

"In order to rectify the details I have mentioned 
as well as some I have not mentioned, I have come 
to the conclusion that I must devise an entirely new 
technical system. Technical systems are best when 
they are individual. Speaking theoretically, every 
individual needs a different technical system. Every 
hand, every arm, every set of ten fingers, every body 
and, what is of greatest importance, every intellect 
is different from every other. I consequently en- 
deavored to get down to the basic laws underlying 
the subject of technic and make a system of my own. 

"After much study, I discovered what I believed to 
be the technical cause of my defects and then I re- 
turned to Europe and for two years I devoted myself 
almost exclusively to technical study along the in- 
dividual lines I had devised. To my great delight 
details that had always defied me, the rebellious 
trills, the faltering bravura passages, the uneven 
runs, all came into beautiful submission and with them 
came a new delight in playing. 

FINDING INDIVIDUAL FAULTS 
"I trust that my experience will set some ambi- 
tious piano students to thinking and that they may 
be benefited by it. There is always a way of cor- 
recting deficiencies if the way can only be found. 
The first thing, however, is to recognize the detail 



102 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

itself and then to realize that instead of being a de- 
tail it is a matter of vast importance until it has 
been conquered and brought into submission. In 
playing, always note where your difficulties seem to 
lie. Then, when advisable, isolate those difficulties 
and practice them separately. This is the manner in 
which all good technical exercises are devised. 

"Your own difficulty is the difficulty which you 
should practice most. Why waste time in practicing 
passages which you can play perfectly well? One 
player may have difficulty in playing trills, while to 
another player of equal general musical ability trills 
may be perfectly easy. In playing arpeggios, how- 
ever, the difficulties which prove obstacles to the 
players may be entirely reversed. The one who 
could play the trill perfectly might not be able, under 
any circumstance, to play an arpeggio with the re- 
quisite smoothness and true legato demanded, while 
the student who found the trill impossible possesses 
the ability to run arpeggios and cadenzas with the 
fluency of a forest rivulet. 

"All technical exercises must be given to the pupil 
with great discretion and judgment just as poisonous 
medicines must be administered to the patient with 
great care. The indiscriminate giving of technical 
exercises may impede progress rather than advance 
the pupil. Simply because an exercise happens to 
come in a certain position in a book of technical ex- 
ercises is no reason why the particular pupil being 
taught needs that exercise at that particular time. 



IMPORTANT DETAILS IN PIANO STUDY 103 

Some exercises which are not feasible and others 
which are inexpedient at a certain time, may prove 
invaluable later in the pupil's progress, 

"Take the famous Tausig exercises, for instance. 
Tausig was a master of technic who had few, if any, 
equals in his time. His exercises are for the most 
part very ingenious and useful to advanced players, 
but when some of them are transposed into other 
keys as their composer demands they become practi- 
cally impossible to play with the proper touch, etc. 
Furthermore, one would be very unlikely to find 
a passage demanding such a technical feat in the 
compositions of any of the great masters of the 
piano. Consequently, such exercises are of no practi- 
cal value and would only be demanded by a teacher 
with more respect for tradition than common sense, 

DETAILS OF PHRASING AND ACCENTUATION 
"Some students look upon phrasing as a detail 
that can be postponed until other supposedly more 
important things are accomplished, The very mu- 
sical meaning of any composition depends upon the 
correct understanding and delivery of the phrases 
which make that composition. To neglect the 
phrases would be about as sensible as it would be 
for the great actor to neglect the proper thought 
division in the interpretation of his lines. The 
greatest masterpiece of dramatic literature whether 
it be Romeo and Juliet, Antigone, La Malade Imagin- 
aire or The DoWs House becomes nonsense if the 



104 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

thought divisions indicated by the verbal phrases are 
not carefully determined and expressed. 

"Great actors spend hours and hours seeking for 
the best method of expressing the author's meaning. 
No pianist of ability would think of giving less care- 
ful attention to phrasing. How stupid it would be 
for the actor to add a word that concluded one sen- 
tence to the beginning of the next sentence. How 
erroneous then is it for the pupil to add the last note 
of one phrase to the beginning of the next phrase. 
Phrasing is anything but a detail, 

"Fine phrasing depends first upon a knowledge of 
music which enables one to define the limitations of 
the phrase and then upon a knowledge of piano- 
forte playing which enables one to execute it properly. 
Phrasing is closely allied to the subject of accentuation 
and both subjects are intimately connected with 
that of fingering. Without the proper fingers it is 
often impossible to execute certain phrases correctly. 
Generally, the accents are considered of importance 
because they are supposed to fall in certain set parts 
of given measures, thus indicating the meter. 

"In instructing very young pupils it may be neces- 
sary to lead them to believe that the time must be 
marked in a definite manner by such accents, but as 
the pupil advances he must understand that the 
measure divisions are inserted principally for the 
purpose of enabling him to read easily. He should 
learn to look upon each piece of music as a beau- 
tiful tapestry in which the main consideration is 



IMPORTANT DETAILS IN PIANO STUDY 105 

the principal design of the work as a whole and not 
the invisible marking threads which the manufac- 
turer is obliged to put in the loom in order to have 
a structure upon which the tapestry may be woven. 

BACH, BACH, BACH 

"In the study of the subject of accentuation and 
phrasing it would not be possible for anyone to 
recommend anything more instructive than the 
works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The immortal 
Thiiringian composer was the master-weaver of all. 
His tapestries have never been equalled in refine- 
ment, color, breadth and general beauty. Why is 
Bach so valuable for the student? This is an easy 
question to answer. It is because his works are 
so constructed that they compel one to study these 
details. Even if the student has only mastered the 
intricacies of the Two Voice Inventions, it is safe to 
say that he has become a better player. More than 
this, Bach forces the student to think. 

"If the student has never thought before during 
his practice periods, he will soon find that it is quite 
impossible for him to encompass the difficulties of 
Bach without the closest mental application. In fact, 
he may also discover that it is possible for him to 
work out some of his musical problems while away 
from the keyboard. Many of the most perplexing 
musical questions and difficulties that have ever 
confronted me have been solved mentally while I 



106 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

have been walking upon the street or lying in bed at 
night. 

"Sometimes the solution of difficult details conies 
in the twinkling of an eye. I remember that when 
I was a very young man I was engaged to play a 
concerto with a large symphony orchestra. One 
part of the concerto had always troubled me, and I 
was somewhat apprehensive about it. During one 
of the pauses, while the orchestra was playing, the 
correct interpretation came to me like a flash. I 
waited until the orchestra was playing very loud 
and made an opportunity to run over the difficult 
passage. Of course, my playing could not be heard 
under the tutti of the orchestra, and when the time 
came for the proper delivery of the passage it was 
vastly better than it would have been otherwise. 

"I never neglect an opportunity to improve, no 
matter how perfect a previous interpretation may 
have seemed to me. In fact, I often go directly home 
from the concert and practice for hours upon the 
very pieces that I have been playing, because during 
the concert certain new ideas have come to me. These 
ideas are very precious, and to neglect them or to 
consider them details to be postponed for future de- 
velopment would be ridiculous in the extreme." 



IMPORTANT DETAILS IN PIANO STUDY I0y 

QUESTIONS ON STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANO PLAYING 

SERIES V 
FERRUCCIO BE1STVENUTO BUSONI 

1. What is it which distinguishes the performance 
of the great pianist from that of the novice? 

2. Upon what detail of interpretation does musi- 
cal performance most depend? 

3. Should the student continually estimate his 
own ability? 

4. Which difficulty should you practice most? 

5. What was the principle which made the Tausig 
exercises valuable? 

6. Upon what does fine phrasing depend? 

7. Why is it that the compositions of Johann 
Sebastian Bach are so useful in piano study? 

8. How may complex musical problems be solved 
mentally? 

9. Is it advisable to isolate difficulties and practice 
them separately? 

10. How should one seize opportunities to improve? 



TERESA CARRE&O 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Teresa Carreno was born at Caracas, Venezuela, 
December 22, 1853. She descended from one of the 
foremost families of Spanish America, which boasted 
of Simon Bolivar " the Washington of South America ? ' 
as one of its members. Artists have been known 
among her ancestors as far back as the fourteenth 
century when the famous painter Carreno lived in 
Spain. 

Mme. Carreno's first teacher was her father. 
Later she studied with a German teacher in her 
native country. At seven she played the Rondo 
Capriccio of Mendelssohn with great iclat. A revolu- 
tion obliged the Carreno family to move to New York. 
The death of a friend to whom funds had been en- 
trusted placed the party of eighteen refugees in dire 
straits and a concert was arranged at which the tiny 
Teresa came to the front and secured sufficient means 
for their existence. 

Gottschalk, then in the height of his fame in New 
York, became the child's next teacher. She remained 
with him for two years. Then she went to Paris 
and became a pupil of Georges Mathias ? the famous 
disciple of Chopin. Her success as a virtuoso pianist 
in Europe excited the attention of Rubinstein who 
devoted a great deal of time to giving her invaluable 
advice and instruction in interpretation. Indeed 
Rubinstein was so proud of her that he repeatedly 
introduced her as his daughter in art and would 
jokingly say "Are not our hands exactly alike?" 

Mme. Carreno's brilliance, force, breadth of thought 
and almost sensuous love for the beautiful made her 
numerous tours through all of the music-loving coun- 
tries remarkably successful. 

10$ 



V jf 




* 


'.** 
-** 




TERESA CARRENO 



vm 

DISTINCTIVE PIANO PLAYING 

TERESA CARREftO 

EARLY EVIDENCES OF INDIVIDUAIJTY 
IT is difficult for me to discuss the subject of in- 
dividuality without recollecting one of the most im- 
pressive and significant events of my entire career. 
When I was taken to Europe as a child, for further 
study, it was my good fortune to meet and play for 
the immortal Franz Liszt. He seemed deeply inter- 
ested in my playing, and with the kindliness for which 
he was always noted he gave me his blessing, a kind of 
artistic sacrament that has had a tremendous influence 
upon all my work as an artist. He laid his hand upon 
my head and among other things said: " Little girl, 
with time you will be one of us. Don't imitate anyone. 
Keep yourself true to yourself. Cultivate your 
individuality and do not follow blindly in the paths 
of others. " 

In this one thought Liszt embodied a kind of a 
pedagogical sermon which should be preached every 
day in all the schools, conservatories and music 
studios of the world. Nothing is so pitiful as the 
evidences of a strong individuality crushed out by an 
artificial educational system which makes the system 
itself of paramount importance and the individual of 
microbic significance. 

109 



110 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

The signs of individuality may be observed in little 
folks at a very early age. With some children they 
are not very pronounced, and the child seems like 
hundreds of others without any particular inclination, 
artistic or otherwise. It is then that the teacher's 
powers of divination should be brought into play. 
Before any real progress can be made the nature of 
the child must be studied carefully. In the case of 
other children, the individuality is very marked at an 
early age. As a rule, the child with the marked in- 
dividuality is the one from whom the most may be 
expected later in life. Sometimes this very individ- 
uality is mistaken for precocity. This is particularly 
the case with musicians. In a few instances the 
individuality of the master has been developed late 
in life, as was the case of Richard Wagner, whose 
early individual tendencies were toward the drama 
rather than music. 

NEW PROBLEMS AT EVERY STEP 
The teacher in accepting a new pupil should realize 
that there at once arises new problems at every step. 
The pupil's hand, mind, body and soul may be in 
reality different from those of every other pupil the 
teacher has taught. The individual peculiarities of 
the hand should be carefully considered. If the hand 
has long, tapering fingers, with the fingers widely 
separated, it will need quite different treatment from 
that of the pupil with a short, compact, muscular 
hand. If the pupil's mind indicates mental lethargy 



DISTINCTIVE PIANO PLAYING III 

or a lack of the proper early educational training, this 
must be carefully considered by the teacher. 

If the pupil's body is frail and the health uncertain, 
surely the teacher will not think of prescribing the 
same work she would prescribe for a robust, energetic 
pupil who appears never to have had a sick day. One 
pupil might be able to practice comfortably for four 
and five hours a day, while another would find her 
energy and interest exhausted in two hours. In fact, I 
would consider the study of individuality the principal 
care or study of the teacher, 

The individuality of different virtuoso performers 
is very marked. Although the virtuoso aspires to 
encompass all styles that is, to be what you would 
call an "all-around" player it is, nevertheless, the 
individuality of the player that adds the additional 
charm to the piano-recital. You hear a great master- 
piece executed by one virtuoso, and when you hear 
the same composition played by another you will 
detect a difference, not of technical ability or of artistic 
comprehension, but rather of individuality. Rem- 
brandt, Rubens and Vandyke might have all painted 
from the same model, but the finished portrait would 
have been different, and that difference would have 
been a reflection of the individuality of the artist. 

THE TEACHER'S RESPONSIBILITY 
Again let me emphasize the necessity for the correct 
"diagnosis" of the pupil's individuality upon the part 
of the teacher. Unless the right work is prescribed 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

by the teacher, the pupil will rarely ever survive 
artistically. It is much the same as with the doctor. 
If the doctor gives the wrong medicine and the patient 
dies, surely the doctor is to blame. It makes no differ- 
ence whether the doctor had good intentions or not. 
The patient is dead and that is the end of all. I have 
little patience with these people who have such 
wonderful intentions, but who have neither the ability, 
courage nor willingness to carry out these intentions. 
Many teachers would like to accomplish a very great 
deal for their pupils, but alas! they are either not able 
or they neglect those very things which make the 
teacher's work a mission. One of the teacher's great- 
est responsibilities lies in determining at first upon a 
rational educational course by divining the pupil's 
individuality. Remember that pupils are not all 
like sheep to be shorn in the same identical fashion 
with the same identical shears. 

EDWARD MACDOWELL'S INDIVIDUALITY 
One of the most remarkable cases of a pronounced 
musical individuality was that of the late Edward 
MacDowell, who came to me for instruction for a 
considerable time. He was then quite youthful, 
and his motives from the very first were of the highest 
and noblest. His ideals were so lofty that he required 
little stimulation or urging of any kind, Here it was 
necessary to study the pupil's nature very carefully, 
and provide work that would develop his keenly artis- 
tic individuality. I remember that he was extremely 



DISTINCTIVE PIANO PLAYING 113 

fond of Grieg, and the marked and original character 
of the Norwegian tone-poet made a deep impression 
upon him. He was poetical, and loved to study and 
read poetry. To have repressed MacDowell in a 
harsh or didactic manner would have been to have 
demolished those very characteristics which, in later 
years, developed in such astonishing fashion that his 
compositions have a distinctiveness and a style all 
their own. 

It gives me great pleasure to place his compositions 
upon my programs abroad, and I find that they are 
keenly appreciated by music lovers in the old world. 
If MacDowell had not had a strong individuality, and 
if he had not permitted this individuality to be de- 
veloped along normal lines, his compositions would 
not be the treasures to our art that they are. 

DEVELOPING INDIVIDUALITY THROUGH POETRY 
If the teacher discovers a pupil with apparent mu- 
sical talent, but whose nature has not been developed 
to appreciate the beautiful and romantic in this 
wonderful world of ours, he will find it quite impossible 
to alter the pupil's individuality in this respect by work 
at the keyboard alone. The mundane, prosaic in- 
dividual who believes that the sole aim of musical 
study is the acquisition of technic, or the magic of 
digital speed, must be brought to realize that this is 
a fault of individuality which will mar his entire career 
unless it is intelligently corrected. Years and years 
spent in practice will not make either a musician or a 



114 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

virtuoso out of one who can conceive of nothing more 
than how many times he can play a series of notes 
within the beats of the metronome, beating 208 times 
a minute, 

Speed does not constitute virtuosity, nor does the 
ability to unravel the somewhat intricate keyboard 
puzzles of Bach and Brahms make in itself fine piano 
playing. The mind of the artist must be cultured; 
in fact, quite as cultured as that of the composer who 
conceived the music. Culture comes from the ob- 
servation of many things: Nature, architecture, 
science, machinery, sculpture, history, men and 
women, and poetry. I advise aspiring music students 
to read a great deal of poetry. 

I find great inspiration in Shakespeare, inspiration 
which I know is communicated to my interpretations 
of musical masterpieces at my concerts. Who can 
remain unmoved by the mystery and psychology of 
Hamlet, the keen suffering and misery of King Lear, 
the bitter hate and revenge of Othello, the sweet de- 
votion of Romeo and Juliet, the majesty of Richard 
III, and the fairy beauty of A Midsummer Night's 
Dream? In this wonderful kaleidoscope of all the 
human passions one can find a world of inspiration. 
I am also intensely fond of Goethe, Heine, and Alfred 
de Musset. It gives me pleasure to compare them to 
the great masters of music. Shakespeare I compare 
to Brahms, Goethe to Bach and Beethoven, and Heine 
and Musset to Chopin and Liszt. 



DISTINCTIVE PIANO PLAYING 



CULTIVATING VIVACITY AND BRILLIANCY 
Vivacity and brilliancy in playing are largely mat- 
ters of temperament and a fluent technic. I owe 
a great deal in this respect to Gottschalk. When 
he came back to America fresh from the hands of 
the inimitable Chopin, he took the most minute 
pains to cultivate this characteristic in my playing. 
Chopin's own playing was marked by delicacy and 
an intensity that was apart from the bravura playing 
of most of the artists of his time. Gottschalk was a 
keen observer, and he did everything possible to 
impart this style to me. I have used the studies of 
Czerny, Liszt, Henselt and dementi to develop 
brilliancy with pupils. 

It should be remembered that the root of all brilliant 
playing lies in one thing accuracy. Without ac- 
curacy any attempt at brilliancy must result in " mussi- 
ness." It is impossible to explain these things by 
means of books and theories. Remember what 
Goethe says: "Alle Theorie is grau, mein Freund" 
(all theory is foggy or hard to comprehend). One 
can say fifty times as much in twenty minutes as one 
can put in a book. Books are necessary, but by no 
means depend entirely upon books for technical 
instruction. 

Individuals who are careless possess a trait that 
will seriously mar their individuality as musicians 
and artists. Carelessness is so often taken for 
"abandon" in playing. "Abandon" is something 



Il6 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

quite different and pertains to that unconsciousness 
of technical effort which only comes to the artist 
after years of practice. To play with " abandon" 
and miss a few notes in this run, play a few false notes 
in the next, strike the wrong bass note here and 
there, mumble trills and overlook the correct phrasing 
entirely, with the idea that you are doing the same 
thing you have seen some great virtuoso do, is simply 
the superlative degree of carelessness. 

To one whose individuality is marred by careless- 
ness let me recommend very slow playing, with the 
most minute attention to detail. Technically speak- 
ing, Czerny and Bach are of great value in correcting 
carelessness. In Czerny the musical structure of 
the compositions is so clearly and openly outlined 
that any error is easily detected, while in Bach the 
structure is so close and compact that it is difficult 
to make an error without interrupting the movement 
of some other voice that will reveal the error. The 
main consideration, however, is personal carefulness, 
and it makes little difference what the study is, so 
long as the student himself takes great pains to see 
that he is right, and exactly right, before he attempts 
to go ahead. Most musicians, however, would say 
that Bach was the one great stone upon which our 
higher technical structure must firmly stand. 

Some individuals are so superficial and so "frothy" 
that it is difficult to conceive of their doing any- 
thing serious or really worth while. It is very hard 
for the teacher to work with such a pupil, because 



DISTINCTIVE PIANO PLAYING 117 

they have not realized themselves as yet. They 
have not looked into their lives and discerned those 
things which make life of most importance. Life 
is not all play, nor is it all sorrow. But sorrow 
often does much to develop the musician's character, 
to make him look into himself and discover his more 
serious purposes. This might also be accomplished 
by some such means of self -introspection as " Christ- 
ian Science." Although I am not a "Christian 
Scientist," I am a great believer in its wonderful 
principles. 

The greatest care must be taken in developing 
the individualities of the superficial pupils. To give 
them Bach or Brahms at the outstart would be to 
irritate them. They must be led to a fondness for 
music of a deeper or more worthy character by 
gradual steps in that direction. In my own case 
I was fortunate in having the advice of mature and 
famous musicians, and as a child was given music 
of a serious order only. I have always been grateful 
for this experience. At one of my first New York 
concerts I had the honor of having Theodore Thomas 
as first violinist, and I well remember his natural 
bent for music of a serious order, which was in a 
decided contrast to the popular musical taste of the 
times, 

THE IMPORTANCE OP STUDYING MUSICAL HISTORY 

Every composer has a pronounced individuality. 

To the experienced musician this individuality be- 



Il8 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

comes so marked that he can often detect the com- 
poser's style in a composition which he has never 
heard. The artist studies the individuality of the 
composer through the study of his biography, through 
the study of musical history in general and through 
the analysis of individual compositions. 

Every music student should be familiar with the 
intensely necessary and extremely valuable subject 
of musical history. How else can he become familiar 
with the personal individualities of the great com- 
posers? The more I know of Chopin, Beethoven, 
Scarlatti or Mendelssohn as men, and the more I 
know of the times in which they lived, the closer I 
feel to the manner in which they would have wished 
their compositions interpreted. Consider how mark- 
edly different are the individualities of Wagner and 
Haydn, and how different the interpretations of the 
works of these masters should be. 

Strauss and Debussy are also very different in 
their methods of composition. Strauss seems to 
me a tremendous genius who is inventing a new 
musical language as he goes. Debussy does not 
appeal to me in the same manner. He always seems 
to be groping for musical ideas, while with Strauss 
the greatness of his ideas is always evident and all* 
compelling. 

In closing, let me say that Tim, Experience and 
Work are the moulders of all individuality. Few of 
us close our days with the same individualities which 
become evident in our youth. We are either grow- 



DISTINCTIVE PIANO PLAYING 1 19 

ing better or worse all the time, We rarely stand 
still. To the musician work is the great sculptor 
of individuality. As you work and as you think, so 
will you be. No deed, no thought, no hope is too 
insignificant to fail to influence your nature. As 
through work we become better men and women, 
so through work do we become better musicians. 
Carlyle has beautifully expressed this thought in 
"Past and Present 37 thus: "The latest Gospel in this 
world is, 'Know thy work and do it. ? Blessed is he 
who has found his work; let him ask no other 
blessedness. He has a WORK, a life purpose; he 
has found it and will follow it. " 



QUESTIONS ON STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC or PIANO PLAYING 

SERIES VI 
TERESA CARREftO 

1. Why should imitation be avoided? 

2. Should individuality in playing be developed 
at an early age? 

3. Should individual physical peculiarities t)e 
taken into consideration? 

4. In what way was Edward MacDowelFs individ- 
uality marked? 

5. How may individuality be developed through 
poetry? 



120 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

6. What studies are particularly useful in the 
cultivation of brilliant playing? 

7. What is the best remedy for careless playing? 

8. How must superficial pupils be treated? 

9. Why is the study of musical history so im- 
portant? 

10. What may be called the sculptor of individual- 
ity in music? 






4 
S 

' ; 



.' A"'-.f 



..* 



O. GABRILOWITSCH 



OSSIP GABRILOWITSCH 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Ossip Gabrilowitsch was born in St. Petersburg, 
February 8, 1878. His father was a well-known 
jurist of the Russian capital. His brothers were 
musical and his first teacher was one of his brothers. 
Later, he was taken to Anton Rubinstein who earnestly 
advocated a career as a virtuoso. Accordingly he 
entered the classes of Victor Tolstoff at the St. Peters- 
burg Conservatory, then under the supervision of 
Rubinstein himself. His frequent personal con- 
ferences with the latter were of immense value to 
him. Thereafter he went to Vienna and studied 
with Leschetizky for two years. He has made many 
tours of Europe and America as a piano virtuoso 
and has also appeared as an orchestral conductor 
with pronounced success. He was a great friend of 
the late Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) and 
married one of his daughters. 

(The following conference was conducted in English.) 



121 



IX 

ESSENTIALS OF TOUCH 
OSSEP GABRILOWITSCH 

"MODERN pianoforte teachers in many instances 
seem to make deliberate attempts to complicate the 
very simple matter of touch. In the final analyses 
the whole study of touch may be resolved into two 
means of administering force to the keyboard, i. e., 
weight and muscular activity. The amount of pres- 
sure brought to bear upon the keys depends upon 
the amount of arm weight and upon the quickness 
with which the muscles of the hand, forearm, full- 
arm and back permit the key to be struck. Upon 
these two means of administering force must de- 
pend whatever differentiation in dynamic power and 
tonal quality the player desires to produce. The 
various gradations of tone which the virtuoso's hand 
and arm are trained to execute are so minute that 
it is impossible for me to conceive of a scientific 
instrument or scale to measure them. Physiologists 
have attempted to construct instruments to do this, 
but little of value has come from such experiments. 

A RIGID ARM UNDESIRABLE 

"Only a comparatively few years ago thousands 
of teachers were insisting upon having their pupils 

keep the arms in a still, even rigid, condition during 

122 



ESSENTIALS OP TOUCH 123 

practice. This naturally resulted in the stiffest 
imaginable kind of a touch, and likewise in a mechani- 
cal style of playing that made what has come to be 
known in later days as 'tone color' impossible. 

"At this day the finger touch as it was formerly 
known has almost gone out of existence. By finger 
touch I refer to the old custom of holding the hand 
and forearm almost rigid and depending upon the 
muscular strength of the fingers for all tonal effects. 
In fact, I so rarely employ the finger touch, except 
in combination with the arm touch, that it is almost 
an insignificant factor as far as my own playing is 
concerned. By this the reader must not think that 
the training of the fingers, and particularly the finger 
tips, is to be neglected. But this training, to my 
mind, is not so much a matter of acquiring digital 
strength to produce force as to accustom the fingers 
to strike the notes with the greatest possible accuracy 
and speed. This belongs rather to the realm of 
technic than to that of touch, and behind all technic 
is the intellect of the player. ^JTechnic is a matter of 
training the finger tips to attack and leave the keys 
under the absolute discipline of the brainjji Touch 
has a much broader and wider significance. It is 
touch that reveals the soul of the player. 



TOUCH A DISTINGUISHING 

"Touch is the distinguishing characteristic which 

makes one player's music sound different from that 

of another, for it is touch that dominates the player's 



124 GEEAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

means of producing dynamic shading or tone quality. 
I know that many authorities contend that the 
quality of tone depends upon the instrument rather 
than upon the performer. Nevertheless, I am 
reasonably confident that if I were to hear a number 
of pianists play in succession upon the same instru- 
ment behind a screen and one of these performers 
were to be my friend, Harold Bauer, I could at once 
identify his playing by his peculiarly individual touch. 
In fact, the trained ear can identify different indi- 
vidual characteristics with almost the same accuracy 
that we identify different voices. One could never 
forget Leschetizky's touch, or that of many another 
contemporary pianist. 

"No matter how wonderful the pianist's technic 
that is, how rapidly and accurately he can play pas- 
sages of extraordinary difficulty, it is quite worth- 
less unless he possesses that control over his touch 
which enables him to interpret the composer's work 
with the right artistic shading. A fine technic with- 
out the requisite touch to liberate the performer's 
artistic intelligence and 'soul' is like a gorgeous 
chandelier without the lights, Until the lights are 
ignited all its beauty is obscured in darkness. With 
an excellent technic and a fine touch, together with 
a broad musical and general education and artistic 
temperament, the young player may be said to be 
equipped to enter the virtuoso field. 



ESSENTIALS OF TOUCH 125 

COMBINING DIFFERENT TOUCHES 
"As I have intimated, if the fingers are used ex- 
clusively a terribly dry tone must result. The full- 
arm touch, in which I experience a complete relaxa- 
tion of the arm from the shoulder to the finger tips, 
is the condition I employ at most times. But the 
touches I use are combinations of the different finger, 
hand and arm touches. These lead to myriads of 
results, and only the experienced performer can 
judge where they should be applied to produce de- 
sired effects. 

"You will observe by placing your hand upon my 
shoulder that even with the movement of the single 
finger a muscular activity may be detected at the 
shoulder. This shows how completely relaxed I keep 
my entire arm during performance. It is only in 
this way that I can produce the right kind of singing 
tone in cantabile passages. Sometimes I use one 
touch in one voice and an entirely different touch 
in another voice. The combinations are kaleido- 
scopic in their multiplicity. 

MECHANICAL METHODS DANGEROUS 
"I have never been in favor of the many auto- 
matic and mechanical methods of producing touch. 
They are all dangerous to my mind. There is only 
one real way of teaching, and that is through the 
sense of hearing of the pupil. The teacher should 
go to the piano and produce the desired tonal effect, 



126 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

and the pupil should listen and watch the teacher. 
Then the pupil should be instructed to secure a 
similar result, and the teacher should persevere until 
the audible effect is nearly the same. If the pupil, 
working empirically, does not discover the means 
leading to this effect, the teacher should call the 
pupil's attention to some of the physical conditions 
leading to the result. If the teacher is unable to 
play well enough to illustrate this, and to secure 
the right kind of touch from his pupils, he has no 
business to be a teacher of advanced students. All 
the theory in the world will never lead to the proper 
results. 

"Rubinstein paid little or no attention to the 
theory of touch, and, in fact, he frequently stated 
that he cared little about such things, but who could 
hear Rubinstein's touch without being benefited? 
I believe that in teaching touch the teacher should 
first give his model of the touch required and then 
proceed from this positive ideal, by means of the so- 
called Socratic method of inducing the pupil to produce 
a similar result through repeated questions. In this 
way the pupil will not be obliged to resign his indi- 
viduality, as would be the case if he followed strict 
technical injunctions and rules. 

STUDENTS SHOULD HEAR VIRTUOSOS 
"For the same reason it is advisable for the pupil 
to hear many fine pianists. He should never miss 
an opportunity to attend the concerts of great virtuo- 



ESSENTIALS OF TOUCH 127 

sos. I can frankly say that I have learned as much 
from hearing the concerts of great performers as I 
have from any other source of educational inspiration. 
The pupil should listen intelligently and earnestly. 
When he hears what appeals to him as a particu- 
larly fine tonal effect, he should endeavor to note 
the means the pianist employs to produce this effect. 
"He must, however, learn to discriminate between 
affection or needless movement and the legitimate 
means to an end. Consequent upon a relaxed full 
arm is the occasional dropping of the wrist below the 
level of the keyboard. A few great players practice 
this at a public recital, and lo! and behold! a veritable 
cult of ' wrist-droppers' arises and we see students 
raising and lowering the wrist with exaggerated mech- 
anical stiffness and entirely ignoring the important 
end in which this wrist dropping was only an incident. 

METHODS, AND STILL MORE METHODS 
"I am continually amused at the thousand and 
one different ways of striking the keys that teachers 
devise and then attach with the label 'method.' 
These varied contortions are, after all, largely a 
matter of vision, and have little effect upon the real 
musical results that the composition demands. 
Touch, as I have previously said, all comes down 
to the question of the degree of weight applied to the 
keyboard and the degree of quickness with which 
it is applied. In rapid octave and staccato passages 
the hand touch is largely used. This is the touch 



128 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

most dependent upon local muscular activity. Aside 
from this the combination of muscular and weight 
touch almost invariably obtain. 

DON'T NEGLECT EAR TRAINING 
"I desire to reiterate that if the ideal touch is 
presented to the pupil's mind, through the medium 
of the ear, he will be much more successful in attain- 
ing the artistic ends required, The pupil must 
realize dearly what is good and what is bad, and his 
aural sense must be continually educated in this 
respect. He should practice slowly and carefully at 
the keyboard until he is convinced that his arm is 
at all times relaxed. He cannot make his sense of 
touch too sensitive. He should even be able to sense 
the weight or upward pressure which brings the 
pianoforte key back into position after it has been 
depressed. The arm should feel as if it were floating, 
and should never be tense. 

"When I am playing I do not think of the arm 
motion. I am, of course, absorbed in the composi- 
tion being performed. A relaxed arm has become 
second nature to me. It comes by itself. Players 
are rarely able to tell just how they produce their 
results. There are too many contributing factors. 
Even with the best-known performers the effects 
differ at different performances. It is impossible 
for the performer to give a program repeatedly in 
identically the same manner. If he did succeed in 



ESSENTIALS OF TOUCH 129 

doing this, his playing would soon become stereo- 
typed. 

"The teacher should, from the very beginning, seek 
to avoid stiffness and bad hand positions, such as 
crooked fingers or broken-in knuckles. If these de- 
tails are neglected the pupil is liable to go through 
his entire musical career greatly hampered. I would 
earnestly advise all teachers to discourage the efforts 
of pupils to attain virtuoso heights unless they are 
convinced beyond the possibility of a doubt that the 
pupil has marvelous talent. The really great per- 
formers seem to be endowed with a 'God-given* 
insight in the matter of both technic and touch. They 
are unquestionably bora for it. They possess the 
right mental and physical capacity for success. No 
amount of training would make a Normandy dray 
horse that could compete with a Kentucky thorough- 
bred on the race course. It is a pitiful sight to watch 
students who could not possibly become virtuosos slave 
year after year before an ivory and ebony tread-mill, 
when, if they realized their lack of personal qualifica- 
tions, they could engage in teaching or in some other 
professional or mercantile line and take a delight in 
their music as an avocation that they would never 
find in professional playing. 

ARTISTIC INTERPRETATION PARAMOUNT 
"To some, the matter of touch is of little sig- 
nificance. They are apparently born with an ap- 
preciation of tonal values that others might work 



130 CHEAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

years to attain in vain. Those who imagine that 
touch is entirely a matter of finger tips are greatly 
mistaken. The ear is quite as important as the 
organs employed in administering the touch to the 
keyboard. The pianist should in reality not think 
of the muscles and nerves in his arm, nor of the 
ivory and ebony keys, nor of the hammers and strings 
in the interior of the instrument. He should think 
first and always of the kind of tone he is eliciting 
from the instrument, and determine whether it is 
the most appropriate tonal quality for the proper 
interpretation of the piece he is playing. He must, 
of course, spend years of hard thought and study 
in cultivating this ability to judge and produce the 
right touch, but the performer who is more concerned 
about the technical claims of a composition than its 
musical interpretation can only hope to give an un- 
interesting, uninspired, stilted performance that 
should rightly drive all intelligent hearers from his 
audience hall. " 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES vn 

OSSIP GABRILOWITSCH 

1. What are the two means of administering touch? 

2. State the effect of a rigid arm upon piano 
playing. 



ESSENTIALS OF TOUCH 13! 

3. Can a pianist's playing be distinguished by 
touch? 

4. How do the muscles of the shoulder come into 
action in piano playing? 

5. How should the sense of hearing be employed 
in piano playing? 

6. How did Rubinstein regard the theory of touch ? 

7. When is the hand touch generally employed? 

8. How should the arm feel during the act of 
touch? 

9. Does the virtuoso hamper himself with details 
of technic during a performance? 

10. What should be the pianist's first thought dur- 
ing the moment of performance? 



LEOPOLD GODOWSKY 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Leopold Godowsky was born at Wilna, Russia 
(Russian Poland), February 13, 1870. His father 
was a physician. When Godowsky was nine years 
old he made his first public appearance as a pianist 
and met with instantaneous success success so 
great that a tour of Germany and Poland was 
arranged for the child. When thirteen he entered 
the Royal High School for Music in Berlin as the 
protege of a rich banker of Konigsberg. There he 
studied under Bargeil and Rudorff. In 1884 he toured 
America together with Ovide Musin, the violin 
virtuoso. Two years later he became the pupil of 
Saint-Saens in Paris. In 1887 and 1888 he toured 
France and visited London, where he received a com- 
mand to appear at the British Court. In 1890 he 
returned to America and made this country his home 
for ten years, appearing frequently in concert and 
engaging in several tours. In 1894-1895 he became 
head of the piano department of the South Broad 
Street Conservatory, Philadelphia. He then became 
director of the Piano Department of the Chicago 
Conservatory and held this position for five years. 
In 1900 Godowsky appeared in Berlin and was im- 
mediately recognized as one of the great piano masters 
of his time. In 1909 he became director of the Master 
School of Piano Playing connected with the Imperial 
Conservatory of Vienna (a post previously held by 
Emil Sauer and F. B. Busoni). His success as a 
teacher has been exceptional. His compositions, 
particularly his fifty studies upon Chopin Etudes, 
have won the admiration of the entire musical world. 



133 



ifrVirtir 

^-- ,. - . ..." ,-^-*r jM( 

-,/'s1SS^-----^:;A':-. 

V#> 'V- 




LEOPOLD GODOWSKY 



X 

THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF TECHNIC 

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY 

IDEAS UPON TECHNIC OPTEN ERRONEOUS 
"Ii is quite impossible in a short talk to earnest 
music students to do more than discuss a few of the 
more important points in the subject proposed. It 
may safely be said at the start, however, that the 
popular conception of technic is quite an erroneous 
one and one that deserves correction. It is highly 
necessary that the student should have a correct 
attitude of mind regarding this matter. First of all, 
I distinguish between what might be called mere 
mechanics and technic. 

"The art of piano playing as a whole seems to divide 
itself into three quite distinct channels when it is con- 
sidered from the educational standpoint. The first 
channel is that of mechanics. This would naturally 
include all that pertains to that branch of piano 
study which has to do with the exercises that develop 
the hand from the machine standpoint that is, make 
it capable of playing with the greatest possible 
rapidity, the greatest possible power, when power is 
needed and also provide it with the ability to play 
those passages which, because of fingering or unusual 
arrangement of the piano keys, are particularly 
difficult to perform. 

188 



134 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

THE BRAIN SIDE or PIANO STUDY 
"In the second channel we would find the study of 
the technic of the art of playing the instrument. 
Technic differs from the mechanics of piano playing in 
that it has properly to do with the intellectual phase of 
the subject rather than the physical. It is the brain 
side of the study not the digital or the manual. To the 
average student who is short-sighted enough to spend 
hours hammering away at the keyboard developing 
the mechanical side of his work, a real conscious 
knowledge of the great saving he could effect through 
technic, would be a godsend. Technic properly has 
to do with Rhythm, Tempo, Accent, Phrasing, 
Dynamics, Agogics, Touch, etc. 

"The excellence of one's technic depends upon the 
accuracy of one's understanding of these subjects and 
his skill in applying them to his interpretations at the 
keyboard. Mechanical skill, minus real technical 
grasp, places the player upon a lower footing than the 
piano-playing machines which really do play all the 
notes, with all the speed and all the power the operator 
demands. Some of these instruments, indeed, are so 
constructed that many of the important considerations 
that we have placed in the realm of technic are repro- 
duced in a surprising manner. 

THE EMOTIONS IN PIANO PLAYING 
"However, not until man invents a living soul, can 
piano playing by machine include the third and vastly 



THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OP TECHNIC 135 

important channel through which we communicate 
the works of the masters to those who would hear 
them. That channel is the emotional or artistic 
phase of piano playing. It is the channel which the 
student must expect to develop largely through bis 
own inborn artistic sense and his cultivated powers 
of observation of the playing of master pianists. 
It is the sacred fire communicated from one art genera- 
tion to the next and modified by the individual emo- 
tions of the performer himself. 

"Even though the performer may possess the most 
highly perfected mechanism, technical mastery which 
enables him to play great masterpieces effectively, if 
he does not possess the emotional insight, his perform- 
ances will lack a peculiar subtlety and artistic power 
that will deprive him of becoming a truly great pianist. 

INSPIRING THE STUDENT 

"Exercises for the mechanical side of pianoforte 
playing abound. Czerny alone wrote over one 
thousand opus numbers. There have also been valu- 
able attempts to provide books to assist the student 
in his technical work, but it should always be remem- 
bered that this depends first of all upon understanding 
and then upon the ability to translate that understand- 
ing to the instrument. 

"There can never be any exercises in the emotional 
side of the student's work other than the entire litera- 
ture of the instrument. One may as well try to cap- 
ture the perfume of the flower as define the require- 



136 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ments of the emotional in pianoforte playing. A great 
deal may be done to inspire the student and suggest 
ideas which may bring him to the proper artistic 
appreciation of a passage, but it is this very indefin- 
ability which makes the emotional phase one of the 
most important of all. Attendance at the recitals 
of artistic pianists is of great help in this connection. 
"The student, however, may learn a vast amount 
about real piano technic and apply his knowledge to 
his playing through the medium of the proper studies. 
For instance, in the subject of touch alone, there is a 
vast store of valuable information which can be gained 
from a review of the progressive steps through which 
this significant phase of the subject has passed during 
the last century. The art of piano playing, considered 
apart from that of the similar instruments which pre- 
ceded the piano, is very little over one hundred years 
old. 

CHANGES IN THE MECHANISM OF THE INSTRUMENT 

"During this time many significant changes have 
been made in the mechanism of the instrument and in 
the methods of manufacture. These changes in the 
nature of the instrument have in themselves doubtless 
had much to do with changes in methods of touch as 
have the natural evolutions coming through countless 
experiments made by teachers and performers. Thus 
we may speak of the subject of touch as being divided 
into three epochs, the first being that of Czerny 
(characterized by a stroke touch), the second being 



THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF TECHNIC 137 

that of the famous Stuttgart Conservatory (character- 
ized by a pressure touch), and the third or new epoch 
which is characterized by weight playing. All my 
own playing is based upon the last named method, and 
I had the honor of being one of the first to make appli- 
cation of it when I commenced teaching some twenty 
years ago. 

THE SIGNIFICANCE or WEIGHT PLAYING 
"In this method of playing, the fingers are virtually 
'glued to the keys' in that they leave them the least 
possible distance in order to accomplish their essential 
aims. This results in no waste motion of any kind, 
no loss of power and consequently the greatest possible 
conservation of energy. In this manner of playing 
the arm is so relaxed that it would fall to the side if the 
keyboard were removed from beneath it. Since the 
hand and the arm are relaxed the back (top) of the 
hand is almost on a level with the forearm. 

"The high angular stroke which characterized the 
playing of the Czerny epoch and which could hardly 
fail to cause tired muscles and unbearably stiff playing, 
is seen very little in these days. By means of it the 
student was taught to deliver a blow to the keyboard 
a blow which permitted very little modification to the 
requirements of modern technic. 

"In my experience as a pianist and as a teacher, I 
have observed that the weight touch allows the greatest 
possible opportunity for the proper application of those 
all-important divisions of technic without which piano 



138 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

playing is not only inartistic, but devoid of all interest. 
Weight playing permits nothing to interfere with dis- 
criminative phrasing, complicated rhythmical prob- 
lems, the infinitely subtle variation of time for ex- 
pressive purposes now classed under the head of 
agogics, all shades of dynamic gradation; in fact 
everything that falls in the domain of the artist 
pianist, 

MOULDING THE FINGERS To THE KEYS 
"In weight playing the fingers seem to mould the 
piano keys under them, the hand and arm are related, 
but never heavy. The maximum of relaxation results 
in the minfmnTn of fatigue. In legato playing, for 
instance, the fingers rest upon the fleshy part behind 
the tip rather than immediately upon the tip as they 
would in passage work when the player desired to have 
the effect of a string of pearls. The sensation in 
legato playing is that of polling back rather than 
striking the keys. In passages where force is required 
the sensation is that of pushing. 

"Much might be said of the sensibility of the finger 
tips as they come in contact with the ivory and ebony 
keys. Most every artist has a strong consciousness 
that there is a very manifest relation between his emo- 
tional and mental conditions and his tactile sense, that 
is his highly developed sense of feeling at the finger 
tips on the keyboard. However, the phenomena 
may be explained from the psychological standpoint, 
it is nevertheless true that the feeling of longing, 



THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF TECHNIC 139 

yearning, hope or soulful anticipation, for instance, 
induces a totally different kind of touch from that of 
anger, resentment or hate. 

"The artist who is incapable of communicating his 
emotions to the keyboard or who must depend upon 
artifice to stimulate emotions rarely electrifies his 
audiences. Every concert is a test of the artist's 
sincerity, not merely an exhibition of his prowess, or 
his acrobatic accomplishments on the keyboard. He 
must have some vital message to convey to his audi- 
ence or else his entire performance will prove meaning- 
less, soulless, worthless. 

"That which is of great importance to tnm is to 
have the least possible barrier between his artistic 
conception of the work he would interpret and the 
sounds that are conveyed to the ears of his audience. 
If we obliterate the emotional side and depend upon 
artifice or what might be called in vulgar parlance 
"tricks of the trade/' pianism will inevitably descend 
to a vastly lower level. By cultivating a sensibility 
in touch and employing the technical means which 
will bring the interpreter's message to the world with 
the least possible obstruction, we reach the highest 
in the art. Those who would strain at gnats might 
contend that with the machinery of the instrument 
itself, intervening between the touch at the keyboard 
and the sounding wires, would make the influence of 
the emotions though the tactile sense (sense of touch) 
is wholly negligible. To this I can only reply that 
the experience of the artist and the teacher is always 



140 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

more reliable, more susceptible to finer appreciations 
of artistic values than that of the pure theorist, who 
views his problems through material rather than 
spiritual eyes. Every observing pianist is familiar 
with the remarkable influence upon the nerves of the 
voice-making apparatus that any emotion makes* 
Is it not reasonable to suppose that the finger tips 
possess a similar sensibility and that the interpreta- 
tions of any highly trained artist are duly affected 
through them? 

INDIVIDUALITY, CHARACTER AND TEMPERAMENT 
"Indeed, Individuality, Character and Tempera- 
ment are becoming more and more significant in the 
highly organized art of pianoforte playing. Remove 
these and the playing of the artist again becomes little 
better than that of a piano-playing machine. No 
machine can ever achieve the distinguishing charm 
that this trinity brings to pianoforte playing. 
Whether the performer is a 'genius' who has carefully 
developed the performance of a masterpiece until it 
evidences that distinguishing mark of k the authorita- 
tive interpretation, or whether he is a 'talent' who 
improvises as the mood of the moment inspires him 
and never plays the same composition twice in any- 
thing like a similar manner, he need not fear the rivalry 
of any machine so long as he preserves his individual- 
ity, character and temperament. 



THE REAL SIGNIFICANCE OF TECHNIC 141 

GENIUS AND WORK 

"The fault with many students, however, is the 
very erroneous idea that genius or talent will take 
the place of study and work. They minimize the 
necessity for a careful painstaking consideration of 
the infinite details of technic. To them, the signifi- 
cance of the developments of Bach, Rameau, and 
Scarlatti in fingering means nothing. They are 
content with the superficial. They are incapable of 
comparing the value of the advances made by Von 
Billow, Tausig and other innovators whose lives were 
given to a large extent to the higher development 
of the technic of the instrument. They struggle 
laboriously at the keyboard, imagining that they are 
dealing with the problem of technic, when in reality 
they are doing little more than performing a drill 
in a kind of musical gymnasium a necessary drill to 
be sure, but at the same time quite worthless unless 
directed by a brain trained in the principles of the 
technic of the art. 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES vm 

LEOPOLD GODOWSKY 

i. How may the mechanics of playing be dis- 
tinguished from the larger subject of technic? 



142 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

2. With what has technic to do? 

3. What channel in the study of pianoforte must 
the pupil develop most thoroughly? 

4. Name three epochs into which the subject of 
touch may be divided. 

5. How does weight playing differ from the high 
angular playing of the Czerny epoch? 

6. How should the fingers rest in legato playing? 

7. What may be said of the sensitiveness of the 
finger tips? 

8. By what device may pianism descend to a 
lower level? 

9. What qualities must the student preserve above 
all things? 

10. Will genius or talent take the place of study and 
work? 




* i 




I 



; ;. 7 



**>-, ' '^. - 

KATHARINE GOODSON 



KATHARINE GOODSON 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Miss Katharine Goodson was born at Watford, 
Herts, England. She commenced the study of music 
at so very youthful an age that she made several 
appearances in the English Provinces before she 
was twelve years of age. Her talent aroused such 
interest that she was sent to the Royal Academy of 
Music in London. There she was placed under the 
artistic guidance of one of the foremost English 
teachers of pianoforte, Oscar Beringer, with whom she 
remained for six years. This was followed by four 
years under Leschetizky in Vienna. 

Leschetizky saw splendid opportunities in such 
talented and regularly trained material and is said to 
have given particularly careful attention to Miss 
Goodson. It is not surprising that upon her return 
to London Miss Goodson made a profound impression 
upon the musical public and laid the foundation for a 
splendid reputation. She toured in England, Ger- 
many, Austria and America with great success. In the 
Grove Dictionary, her playing is described in the 
following manner: "It is marked by an amount of 
verve and animation that are most rare with the 
younger English pianists. She has a great command 
of tone gradation, admirable technical finish, genuine 
musical taste and considerable individuality of style." 
In 1903 Miss Goodson married Mr. Arthur Hinton, 
one of the most brilliant of modern English composers. 

U3 



XI 

ANALYZING MASTERPIECES 
KATHARINE GOODSON 

THE NATURAL TENDENCY TO ANALYZE 
"Judging from the mischievous investigations of 
things in general, which seem so natural for the small 
boy to make, it would appear that our tendency to 
analyze things is innate. We also have innumerable 
opportunities to observe how children, to say nothing 
of primitive people, struggle to construct to put this 
and that together for the purpose of making something 
new in other words, to employ the opposite process to 
analysis, known as synthesis. Moreover, it does not 
demand much philosophy to perceive that all scientific 
and artistic progress is based upon these very proc- 
esses of analysis and synthesis. We pull things apart 
to find out how they are made and what they are made 
of. We put them together again to indicate the 
mastery of our knowledge. 

"The measure of musicianship is the ability to do. 
All the analyzing in the world will not benefit the 
pupil unless he can give some visible indications of his 
proficiency. Indeed, important as the process is, 
it is possible to carry it to extremes and neglect the 
building process which leads to real accomplishment. 



144 



ANALYZING MASTERPIECES 145 

THE FIRST STEP IN ANALYZING A NEW PIECE 

" A great many of the pupils who have come to me 
indicate a lamentable neglect in an understanding of 
the very first things which should have been analyzed 
by the preparatory teachers. It is an expensive 
process to study with a public artist unless the pre- 
paration has been thoroughly made. Reputation 
naturally places a higher monetary value upon the 
services of the virtuoso, and for the student to expect 
instruction in elementary points in analysis is obvi- 
ously an extravagance. The virtuoso's time during 
the lesson period should be spent in the finer study of 
interpretation not in those subjects which the ele- 
mentary teacher should have completed. Often the 
teacher of an advanced pupil is deceived at the start 
and assumes that the pupil has a knowledge, which 
future investigations reveal that he does not possess. 

"For instance, the pupil should be able to deter- 
mine the general structure of a piece he is undertaking 
and should be so familiar with the structure that it 
becomes a form of second nature to him. If the 
piece is a sonata he should be able to identify the 
main theme and the secondary theme whenever they 
appear or whenever any part of them appears. In- 
ability to do this indicates the most superficial kind of 
study. 

"The student should know enough of the subject of 
form in general to recognize the periods into which 

the piece is divided. Without this knowledge how 
10 



146 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

could he possibly expect to study with understanding? 
Even though he has passed the stage when it is neces- 
sary for him to mark off the periods, he should not 
study a new piece without observing the outlines the 
architectural plans the composer laid down in con- 
structing the piece. It is one thing for a Sir Chris- 
topher Wren to make the plans of a great cathedral 
like St. Paul's and quite another thing for him to get 
master builders to carry out those plans. By study- 
ing the composer's architectural plan carefully the 
student will find that he is saving an immense amount 
of time. For example, let us consider the Chopin F 
Minor Fantasie. In this composition the main theme 
comes three times, each time in a different key. 
Once learned in one key, it should be very familiar 
in the next key. 

"The student should also know something of the 
history of the dance, and he should be familiar with 
the characteristics of the different national dances. 
Each national dance form has something more than a 
rhythm it has an atmosphere. The word atmos- 
phere may be a little loose in its application here, but 
there seems to be no other word to describe what I 
mean. The flavor of the Spanish bolero is very differ- 
ent from the Hungarian czardas, and who could 
confound the intoxicating swirl of the Italian taran- 
tella with the stately air of cluny lace and silver rapiers 
which seems to surround the minuet? The minuet, 
by the way, is frequently played too fast. The 
minuet from Beethoven's Eighth Symphony is a 



ANALYZING MASTERPIECES 147 

notable example. Many conductors have made the 
error of rushing through it. Dr. Hans Richter con- 
ducts it with the proper tempo. This subject in 
itself takes a tremendous amount of consideration and 
the student should never postpone this first step in 
the analysis of the works he is to perform. 

THE POETIC IDEA OF THE PIECE 
"Despite the popular impression that music is 
imitative in the sense of being able to reproduce differ- 
ent pictures and different emotions, it is really very 
far from it. The subject of program music and illus- 
trative music is one of the widest in the art, and at the 
same time one of the least definite. Except in cases 
like the Beethoven Pastoral Symphony, where the 
composer has made obvious attempts to suggest rural 
scenes, composers do not as a rule try to make either 
aquarelles or cycloramas with their music. They 
write music for what it is worth as music, not as scen- 
ery. Very often the public or some wily publisher 
applies the title, as in the case of the Moonlight 
Sonata or some of the Mendelssohn Songs Without 
Words. Of course there are some notable exceptions, 
and many teachers may be right in trying to stimulate 
the sluggish imaginations of some pupils with fanciful 
stories. However, when there is a certain design in a 
piece which lends itself to the suggestion of a certain 
idea, as does, for instance, the Liszt-Wagner Spinning 
Song from the Flying Dutchman, it is interesting to 
work with a specific picture in view but never for- 



148 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

getting the real beauty of the piece purely as a beauti- 
ful piece of music. 

"Some pieces with special titles are notoriously 
misnamed and cany no possible means of definitely 
intimating what the composer intended. Even some 
forms are misleading in their names. The Scherzos of 
Chopin are often very remote from the playful 
significance of the word a significance which is 
beautifully preserved in the Scherzos of Mendelssohn. 

STUDYING THE RHYTHM 

"A third point in analyzing a new piece might be 
analyzing the rhythm. It is one thing to understand 
or to comprehend a rhythm and another to preserve 
it in actual playing. Rhythm depends upon the 
arrangement of notes and accents in one or two 
measures which give a characteristic swing to the 
entire composition. Rhythm is an altar upon which 
many idols are smashed. Sometimes one is inclined 
to regard rhythm as a kind of sacred gift. Whatever 
it may be, it is certainly most difficult to acquire or 
better to absorb. A good rhythm indicates a finely 
balanced musician one who knows how and one who 
has perfect self-control. All the book study in the 
world will not develop it. It is a knack which seems 
to come intuitively or 'all at once' when it does come. 
My meaning is clear to anyone who has struggled with 
the problem of playing two notes against three, for 
at times it seems impossible, but in the twinkling 
of an eye the conflicting rhythms apparently jump 



ANALYZING MASTERPIECES 149 

into place, and thereafter the pupil has little difficulty 
with them. 

"Rhythmic swing is different from rhythm, but is 
allied to it as it is allied to tempo. To get the swing 
the impelling force the student must have played 
many pieces which have a tendency to develop this 
swing. The big waltzes of Moszkowski are fine for 
this. If one of Leschetizky's pupils had difficulty 
with rhythm he almost invariably advised them to go 
to hear the concerts of that king of rhythm and dance, 
Eduard Strauss. Dances are invaluable in develop- 
ing this sense of rhythm^wift-moving dances like 
the bolero and the tarantella are especially helpful. 
Certain pieces demand a particularly strict obser- 
vance of the rhythm, as does the Opus 42 of Chopin, 
in which the left hand must adhere very strictly to 
the Valse rhythm. 

THE ANALYSIS or PERASES 
"The ability to see the phrases by which a composi- 
tion is built, clearly and readily, simplifies the study 
of interpretation of a new piece wonderfully. This, 
of course, is difficult at first, but with the proper 
training the pupil should be able to see the phrases at a 
glance, just as a botanist in examining a new flower 
would divide it in his mind's eye into its different 
parts. He would never mistake the calyx for a petal, 
and he would be able to determine at once the pecu- 
liarities of each part. In addition to the melodic 
phrases the pupil should be able to see the metrical 



150 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

divisions which underlie the form of the piece. He 
should be able to tell whether the composition is one 
of eight-measure sections or four-measure sections, or 
whether the sections are irregular. 

"What a splendid thing it would be if little children 
at their first lessons were taught the desirability of 
observing melodic phrases. Teachers lay great stress 
upon hand formation, with the object of getting the 
pupil to keep the hand in a perfect condition a con- 
dition that is the result of a carefully developed habit. 
Why not develop the habit of noting the phrases in the 
same way? Why not a little mind formation? It is 
a great deal nearer the real musical aim than the mere 
digital work. The most perfectly formed hand in the 
world would be worthless for the musician unless the 
mind that operates the hand has had a real musical 
training." 

STUDYING THE HARMONY 

" Every piano student ought to have a knowledge 
of harmony. But this knowledge should be a practi- 
cal one. What do I mean by a practical knowledge 
of harmony? Simply this a knowledge of harmony 
which recognizes the ear as well as the eye. There 
are students of harmony who can work out some har- 
monic problem with the skill of an expert mathemati- 
cian and yet they never for one single moment think 
of the music their notes might make. This is due to 
the great neglect of the study of ear-training in early 
musical education. 



ANALYZING MASTERPIECES 151 

" To be able to recognize a chord when you see it on 
paper is not nearly such an acquisition as the ability 
to recognize the same chord when it is played. The 
student who can tell a diminished seventh, or an aug- 
mented sixth at a glance, but who could not identify 
the same chords when he saw them through his ears 
instead of his eyes is severely handicapped. But how 
many musicians can do this? Ear-training should be 
one of the first of all studies. It may be acquired 
more easily in childhood if the student is not naturally 
gifted with it, and it is the only basis of a thorough 
knowledge of harmony. The piano teacher cannot 
possibly foad time to give sufficient instruction in the 
subject of harmony at the piano lesson. It demands 
a separate period, and in most cases it is necessary 
and advisable to have a separate teacher; that is, 
one who has made a specialty of harmony. 

"The piano itself is of course a great help to the 
student in the study of harmony, providing the stu- 
dent listens all the time he is playing. Few adult 
piano students study string instruments, such as the 
violin or 'cello instruments which cultivate the per- 
ception of hearing far more than can the piano. 
For this reason all children should have the advantage 
of a course in ear-training. This should not be train- 
ing for pitch alone, but for quality of tone as well- 
It may be supplemented with exercises in musical 
dictation until the pupil is able to write down short 
phrases with ease after he has heard them once, A 
pupil who has bad such a training would make ideal 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 



material for the advanced teacher, and because of the 
greatly developed powers of the pupil would be able 
to memorize quicker and make much better progress. 
In fact, ear-training and harmony lead to great 
economy of time. For instance, let us suppose that 
the pupil has a chord like the following in a sonata: 




If the same chord appeared again in the piece it 
would probably be found in the key of the dominant, 
thus: 




It seems very obvious that if the pupil could per- 
ceive the harmonic relationship between these two 
chords he would be spared the trouble of identifying 
an entirely different chord when he finds the repetition 
of it merely in another key. This is only one of 
scores of instances where a knowledge of the harmonic 
structure proves to be of constant importance to the 
student, 



ANALYZING MASTERPIECES 153 

A CABEFUL ANALYSIS OF TOUCH EFFECTS 
"Here again we find an interminable subject. 
Although there are only a few principal divisions 
into which the subject of touch might be divided, 
the number of different subdivisions of these best 
known methods of striking the keys to produce 
artistic effects is very considerable. The artist work- 
ing day in and day out at the keyboard will discover 
some subtle touch effects which he will always associ- 
ate with a certain passage. He may have no logical 
reason for doing this other than that it appeals to his 
artistic sense. He is in all probability following no 
law but that of his own musical taste and sense of 
hearing. 

It is this more than anything else which gives indi- 
viduality to the playing of the different virtuosos 
and makes their efforts so different from the playing 
of machines. Time and time again mechanical 
efforts have been made to preserve all these infinite 
subtilities and some truly wonderful machines have 
been invented, but not until the sculptor's marble can 
be made to glow with the vitality of real flesh can 
this be accomplished. Wonderful as the mechanical 
inventions are there is always something lacking. 

"Here, again, ear-training will benefit the pupil 
who is studying with a virtuoso teacher. It is im- 
possible to show exactly how certain touches pro- 
duce certain effects. The ear, however, hears these 
effects, and if the pupil has the right kind of per- 



154 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

sistence he will work and work until he is able to 
reproduce the same effect that he has heard. Then 
it will be found that the touch he employs will be 
very similar to that used by the virtuoso he has heard. 
It may take weeks to show a certain pupil a kind 
of touch. The pupil with the trained ear and the 
willingness to work might be able to pick up the 
same touch and produce the same effect after a few 
days. A highly developed sense of hearing is of 
immense value to the student who attends concerts 
for the purpose of promoting his musical knowl- 
edge. 

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE TEACHER 
"The more one contemplates this subject the more 
one realizes the responsibilities of the teacher in 
the first years of music study. Of all the pupils 
who commence in the art there are but few who make 
it a part of their lives; many of those who do continue 
find themselves handicapped when they reach the 
more advanced stages of the journey, owing to 
inefficient early training. At the period when their 
time is the most valuable to them they have to take 
up studies which should have been mastered eight or 
ten years before. The elementary teachers all over 
the world have a big responsibility. If they belittle 
their work with children and pine for the kind of 
teaching which the virtuosos attempt to do, let them 
realize that they are in a sense the foundation of the 
structure, and although perhaps not as conspicuous as 



ANALYZING MASTERPIECES 155 

the spire which towers up into the skies, they are 
certainly of equal importance/' 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC or PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES IX 
KATHARINE GOODSON 

1. Is analysis natural to children? 

2. When should the first steps in analysis be made? 

3. Why is a knowledge of the different dance forms 
desirable? 

4. What may be said of the poetic idea of the piece? 

5. What indicates a finely balanced musician? 

6. Should phrase analysis be taught at an early 
age? 

7. Is the ability to identify a chord by hearing 
more important than the ability to identify it by sight? 

8. Does a trained ear help in the acquisition of 
touch? 

9. What may the pupil learn from concerts? 
10. When is the teacher's responsibility greatest? 



JOSEF HOFMANN 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Josef Hofmann was born at Cracow, Russia, Jan- 
uary 20, 1877. His father was an exceptionally suc- 
cessful teacher and was for a time Professor of 
Harmony and Composition at the Warsaw Conserva- 
tory. The elder Hofmann's talents were by no means 
limited to teaching, however, since he conducted the 
Opera at Warsaw for many performances. He 
undertook the training of his son with great care and 
since the child showed remarkable promise the musi- 
cians of Russia took an extraordinary interest in him. 
He appeared in public at the age of six and before he 
was ten years of age he was the most celebrated child 
prodigy of his time. He traveled thousands of miles, 
including tours of America, playing complicated 
classical compositions in a manner which surprised 
musicians everywhere. Fortunately for his health 
and education his tours were terminated in time for 
him to study for the advanced work of the more 
mature artist. Accordingly he was placed with the 
great Anton Rubinstein with whom he remained for 
two years. At seventeen he resumed his concert 
work again appearing in Dresden in 1894. By 
thoroughly dignified methods, scholarly analysis, and 
his natural poetical sense Hofmann introduced new 
ideas in virtuosoship which made him immensely popu- 
lar at once. 



156 




JOSEF HOFMANN 



xn 

PROGRESS IN PIANO STUDY 

JOSEF HOFMANN 

THE question of progress in pianoforte playing is 
one that admits of the widest possible discussion. 
One is frequently asked whether the manner of play- 
ing the pianoforte has undergone any change since 
the time of Hummel, and, if it has advanced, of 
what nature are the advances, and to what particular 
condition are the advances due. Johann Nepomuk 
Hummel, it will be remembered, was contemporary 
with Beethoven, and was, in fact, a kind of bridge 
between the old and the new. He made his d6but 
at a concert given by Mozart at Dresden. For a 
time he was a kind of assistant kapellmeister to Haydn, 
and indeed many at that time thought bis works 
were quite on a par with those of the great master, 
Beethoven. Hummel was a really great virtuoso, 
and was noted for his remarkable improvisations. 
His style of playing was taken as a model in his time, 
and consequently we may safely start with this epoch 
by way of example. 

WHAT DETERMINES CHANGES IN PLAYING 
It is sometimes said that the changes in the con- 
struction of the piano have caused a different treat- 
ment of it, but this reasoning is superficial, inasmuch 

WT 



158 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

as the structural changes of the instrument itself are 
called forth by the ever-increasing demands of the 
composer made upon the instrument. So long as the 
tone quality, action and nature of the instrument 
sufficed for compositions of the type of those of 
Domenico Scarlatti, or Francois Couperin, or Rameau, 
there was little need for change, but as the more 
modern composers longed for new and more compre- 
hensive effects, the piano-makers kept up with their 
desires and aims. Thus it is that after all is said and 
done, the composer, and the composer only, is re- 
sponsible for the changes. The literature of the 
piano determines them. It is the same in the ad- 
vancement of piano technic and interpretation. The 
composers conceive new and often radically different 
musical ideas. These in turn demand a new manner 
of interpretation. This kind of evolution has been 
going on continually since the invention of the instru- 
ment and is going on to-day, only it is more difficult 
for us to see it in the present than it is to review it 
in the past. 

The general mental tendencies of the times, the 
artistic and cultural influences of the world taken as 
a whole, have also had a conspicuous though some- 
what less pronounced share in these matters since 
they inevitably exert an influence upon the inter- 
preter. Speaking from a strictly pianistic point of 
view, it is the player's individuality, influenced by 
the factors just stated, which is the determining ele- 
ment in producing new pianistic tendencies* It is 



PROGRESS IN PIANO STUDY 159 

thus very evident that progress in piano playing since 
the epoch of Hummel has been enormous. 

THE NEW TECHNIC AND THE OLD 
You ask me what are the essential differences 
between the modern technic and the technic of the 
older periods? It is very difficult to discuss this 
question off-hand and it is one which might better 
be discussed in an article of a different character. 
One difficulty lies in the regretable tendency of 
modern technic toward being a purpose in itself. 
Judging from the manner in which some ambitious 
young players work, their sole aim is to become 
human piano-playing machines quite without any 
real musical consciousness. Before radically con- 
demning this tendency, however, it should be remem- 
bered that it has brought us many undeniable advan- 
tages. It cannot be doubted that we owe to the 
ingenious investigators of technical subjects greater 
possibilities in effective polyphonic playing, economy 
of power and arm motion, larger participation of 
the mind in the acquisition of technic, and numerous 
other praiseworthy factors in good piano playing. 
In the olden days, while technical exercises were by 
no means absent, they were not nearly so numerous, 
and more time was given to the real musical elements 
in the study of the musical compositions themselves, 
If the excellent technical ideas to be found in some of 
the systems of to-day are employed solely to secure 
real musical and artistic effects that is, effects based 



l6o GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

upon known aesthetic principles the new technic 
will prove valuable, and we should be very grateful 
for it. However, as soon as it becomes an objective 
point in itself and succeeds in eclipsing the higher pur- 
poses of musical interpretation, just so soon should 
it be abolished. If the black charcoal sketch which 
the artist puts upon canvas to use as an outline shows 
through the colors of the finished painting, no master- 
piece will result. Really artistic piano playing is an 
impossibility until the outlines of technic have been 
erased to make way for true interpretation from the 
highest sense of the word. There is much more in 
this than most young artists think, and the remedy 
may be applied at once by students and teachers in 
their daily work. 

TECHNIC SINCE LISZT 

Again you ask whether technic has made any sig- 
nificant advance since the time of Franz Liszt. Here 
again you confront me with a subject difficult to 
discuss within the confines of a conference. There 
is so much to be said upon it. A mere change in 
itself does not imply either progress or retrogression. 
It is for this reason we cannot speak of progress since 
the time of Liszt. To play as Liszt did that is, 
exactly as he did, as a mirror reflects an object 
would not be possible to anyone unless he were en- 
dowed with an individuality and personality exactly 
like that of Liszt. Since no two people are exactly 
alike, it is futile to compare the playing of any modern 



PROGRESS IN PIANO STUDY l6l 

pianist with that of Franz Liszt. To discuss accur- 
ately the playing of Liszt from the purely technical 
standpoint is also impossible because so much of 
his technic was self-made, and also a mere manual 
expression of his unique personality and that which 
his own mind had created. He may perhaps never 
be equalled in certain respects, but on the other hand 
there are unquestionably pianists to-day who would 
have astonished the great master with their technics 
I speak technically, purely technically. 

DEFINITE METHODS ARE LITTLE MORE 
THAN STENCILS 

I have always been opposed to definite "methods" 
so-called when they are given in an arbitrary 
fashion and without the care of the intelligent teacher 
to adapt special need to special pupils. Methods of 
this kind can only be regarded as a kind of musical 
stencil, or like the dies that are used in factories to 
produce large numbers of precisely similar objects. 
Since art and its merits are so strangely dependent 
upon individuality (and this includes anatomical 
individuality as well as psychological individuality), 
an inflexible method must necessarily have a deadening 
effect upon its victims. 

The question of whether special technical studies 
of an arbitrary nature, such as scale studies, should be 
extensively used is one which has been widely debated, 
and I fear will be debated for years to come. Let us 

understand first, there is a wide difference between 
11 



1 62 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

studying and practicing. They resemble each other 
only in so far as they both require energy and time. 
Many sincere and ambitious students make the great 
mistake of confounding these two very essential 
factors of pianistic success. Study and practice 
really are quite widely removed from each other, and 
at the same time they are virtually inseparable. The 
real difference lies in the amount and quality of the 
two elements. Practice means a large number of 
repetitions, with a fair amount of attention to mere 
correctness of notes, fingering, etc. Under ordinary 
drcumstances and conditions it usually means a great 
sacrifice of time and a comparatively small investment 
of mentality. 

Study, on the contrary, implies first of all mental 
activity of the highest and most concentrated type. 
It presupposes absolute accuracy in notes, time, finger- 
ings, etc., and implies the closest possible attention to 
those things which are generally, though erroneously, 
regarded as lying outside of technic, such as tonal 
beauty, dynamic shading, rhythmical matters, and the 
like. Some have the happy gift of combining practice 
with study, but this is rare. 

Hence, in the question of scale exercises, etc., if the 
word "study" is meant in the true sense, I can only 
say that the study of scales is more than necessary 
it is indispensable. The pedagogical experts of the 
world are practically unanimous upon this subject. 
The injunction, "study," applies not only to scales, 
but to all forms of technical discipline, which only too 



PROGRESS IN PIANO STTJDY 163 

often are " practiced" without being studied. I will 
not deny that mere practicing, as I have defined it, 
may bring some little benefit, but this benefit is gained 
at an enormous expenditure of time and physical and 
mental exertion. Oh! the endless leagues that 
ambitious fingers have traveled over ivory keys! 
Only too often they race like automobiles on a race- 
course in a circle and after having gone innumerable 
miles, and spent a tremendous amount of energy, 
they arrive at the same point from which they started, 
exhausted and worn, with very little to show for their 
work, and no nearer their real goal than when they 
started. The proportion in which mental and physi- 
cal activity is compounded, determines, to my mind, 
the distinction between practicing and real study. 
One might also say that the proportion in which real 
study enters into the daily work of the student deter- 
mines the success of the student. 

THE STUDY or DETAILS IMPERATIVE 
Study demands that the student shall delve into the 
minute details of his art, and master them before he 
attempts to advance. Only the most superficial 
students fail to do this in these days. All of the better 
trained teachers insist upon it, and it is hard for the 
pupil to sHm through on the thinnest possible theoreti- 
cal ice, as they did in past years. The separate study 
of embellishments, for instance, is decidedly necessary, 
especially in connection with the embellishments 
introduced by the writers of the early eighteenth cen- 
tury. 



164 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

In the study of embellishments it is vitally im- 
portant for the student to remember one or two very 
important points in connection with his investigation, 
One point is the understanding of the nature of the 
instrument for which the composer wrote when he 
had the embellishment in mind. The instruments of 
the early eighteenth century were characterized by a 
tone so thin and of such short duration that the com- 
posers and players (and it should be remembered that 
in those days practically all of the great composers 
played, and most of the great performers were com- 
posers) had to resort to all kind of subterfuges and 
tricks to produce the deception of a prolonged tone. 
For instance, they had a method of moving the finger 
to and fro (sideways) upon a key after it was struck. 
Thus they produced a sort of vibrato, not unlike that 
of which we have received an overdose in recent years 
from violinists and 'cellists. This vibrato (German, 
Bebung) was marked like our modern "shake," thus, 



Written 




but if we interpret it as a "shake" we commit a grave 
error. We ought never to regard it as a "shake," 
unless it is obviously an integer of the melody. 
The other point to be considered in the study of 



PROGRESS IN PIANO STUDY 165 

embellishments is taste, or rather, let me say, "f ash- 
ion, " for the fashion of those times which over-in- 
dulged in ornamentation and over-loaded everything 
with it, from architecture to dress, was by no means an 
insignificant factor in music. The point is important 
because it involves the element of "concessions" 
which the composers, voluntarily or from habit, 
made to the public of their day. I seriously question 
the necessity of retaining these often superabundant 
embellishments in their entirety, for I contend that 
we study antique works on account of their musical 
substance and not for the sake of gewgaws and frills 
which were either induced by the imperfections of the 
instrument or by the vitiated taste of times to which 
the composer had to yield willy-nilly. 

It is, of course, a very difficult and responsible task 
to determine what to retain and what to discard. 
This, to a large extent, must depend upon what part 
the ornament plays in the melody of the composition, 
whether it is really an integral part or an artificial 
excrescence. By all means never discard any embell- 
ishment which may serve to emphasize the melodic 
curve, or any one which may add to its declamatory 
character. A well-educated taste assisted by experi- 
ence will be a fairly reliable guide in this matter. 
However, it is haidly advisable for amateurs with 
limited training to attempt any home editing of this 
kind. 

Those embellishments which we do regain should in 
all cases be executed as the composer of the piece 



1 66 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

would desire to hear them executed if he could be- 
come acquainted with the instruments of to-day. 
This, of course, places the study of ornamentation 
with the many auxiliary musical branches which 
demand special and separate attention. Johann 
Sebastian Bach's son, Phillip Emanuel Bach, realized 
this, and gave years to the proper exposition of 
embellishments. However, the student should realize 
that the study of embellishments is only a part of the 
great whole and he should not be misled into accepting 
every little shake or other little frippery, and then 
magnifying it into a matter of more vital importance 
than the piece itself. 

WELL-MEANING ADVISERS 

The student should form the habit of determining 
things for himself. He will soon find that he will be 
surrounded with many well-meaning advisers who, if 
they have their own way, may serve to confuse him. 
Some virtuosos regard their well-meaning admirers 
and entertainers as the worst penalties of the virtuoso 
life. Whether they are or are not must, of course, 
depend upon the artist's character. If he accepts 
their compliments and courtesies as an expression of 
the measure of pleasure they derived from his playing, 
he has tacitly allowed for that share in their pleasure 
which is due to their power of appreciation, and he can 
therefore only rejoice in having provided something 
worthy of it, The manner of their expression, the 
observations they make, the very wording of their 



PROGRESS IN PIANO STUDY 167 

compliments will reveal, quickly enough, whether he 
has a case of real appreciation before him, or a mere 
morbid mania to hobnob with celebrities, or at least 
with people who by nature of their professional work 
are often compelled against their own desires to hold a 
more or less exposed position in the public eye. If 
he deals with the latter and still allows their compli- 
ments to go further than the physical ear, he must be 
a man of a character so weak as to make it doubtful 
that he will ever produce anything worthy of sincere 
and earnest appreciation. More young students are 
misled by blatant flattery than anything else. They 
become convinced that their efforts are comparable 
with those of the greatest artist, and the desire for 
improvement diminishes in direct ratio to the rate in 
which their opinion of their own efforts increases. 
The student should continually examine his own work 
with the same acuteness that he would be expected to 
show were he teaching another. 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC or PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES X 
JOSEF HOFMANN 

1. Has piano playing progressed since the time of 
Hummel? 

2. How have the changes in the structure of the 
instrument affected pianistic progress? 



l68 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

3. Why should students avoid becoming "piano- 
playing machines'? 

4. What must be the sole aim in employing a 
technical exercise? 

5. Will the technic of Liszt ever be excelled? 

6. Why are stencil-like methods bad? 

7. Is scale study indispensable? 

8. Must the student know the characteristics of 
the instrument for which the composer wrote? 

9. What part did fashion play in the introduction 
of embellishments? 

10. Why should the student determine problems 
for himself? 




JOSEF LHEVINNE 



JOSEF LHfiVINNE 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Josef Lhvinne is one of the last noted Russian 
pianists to attain celebrity in America. At his first 
appearance in New York he amazed the critics and 
music lovers by the virility of Ms style, the comprehen- 
siveness of his technic and by his finely trained artistic 
judgment. Lhevinne was born at Moscow, in 1874. 
His father was a professional musician, playing " all in- 
struments except the piano, " It is not surprising that 
his four sons became professional musicians. Three 
are pianists and one is a flutist. When Josef was four 
his father discovered that he had absolute pitch, and 
encouraged by this sign of musical capacity placed the 
child under the instruction of some students from the 
conservatory. At six Lhevinne became the pupil of a 
Scandinavian teacher named Grisander. When eight 
he appeared at a concert and aroused much enthusiasm 
by his playing. At twelve he became the pupil of the 
famous Russian teacher, Wassili Safonoff , at the con- 
servatory at Moscow, remaining under his instruction 
for six years. At the same time bis teachers in theory 
and composition were Taneieff and Arensky. In 
1891 Rubinstein selected him from all the students 
at the conservatory to play at a concert given under 
the famous master's direction. After that Lh6vinne 
had frequent conferences with the great pianist, and 
attributes much of his success to his advice. In 1895 
he won the famous Rubinstein Prize in Berlin. From 
1902 to 1906 he was Professor of Piano at the Con- 
servatory at Moscow. One year spent in military 
service in Russia proved a compulsory setback in his 
work, and was a serious delay in his musical progress. 
Lh6vinne came to America in 1907 and has been here 
five times since then, His wife is also an exceptionally 
fine concert pianist. 

169 



xm 

PIANO STUDY IN RUSSIA 

JOSEF LHfiVINNE 

RUSSIA'S MANY KEYBOAJUD MASTERS 
" RUSSIA is old, Russia is vast, Russia is mighty. 
Eight and one-half million square miles of empire 
not made up of colonies here and there all over the 
world, but one enormous territory comprising nearly 
one hundred and fifty million people, of almost as 
many races as one finds in the United States, that is 
Russia. Although the main occupation of the people 
is the most peaceful of all labor agriculture Russia 
has had to deal with over a dozen wars and insur- 
rections during a little more than a century. In the 
same time the United States has had but five. War is 
not a thing to boast about, but the condition reflects 
the unrest that has existed in the vast country of the 
Czar, and it is not at all unlikely that this very unrest 
is responsible for the mental activity which has 
characterized the work of so many artists of Russian 
birth. 

Although Russia is one of the most venerable of the 
European nations, and although she has absorbed other 
territory possessed by races even more venerable than 
herself, her advance in art, letters and music is com- 
paratively recent. When Scarlatti, Handel, and Bach 
were at their height, Russia, outside of court circles, 

170 



PIANO STUDY IN RUSSIA 171 

was still in a state of serfdom. Tolstoi was born as 
late as 1828, Turgenieff in 1818 and Pushkin, the 
half-negro poet-humorist, was born in 1799. Con- 
temporary with these writers was Mikhail Ivanovitch 
Glinka the first of the great modern composers of 
Russia. Still later we come to Wassili Vereschagin, 
the best known of the Russian painters, who was not 
born until 1842. It may thus be seen that artistic 
development in the modern sense of the term has 
occurred during the lifetime of the American republic. 
Reaching back into the centuries, Russia is one of the 
most ancient of nations, but considered from the art 
standpoint it is one of the newest. 

The folk songs that sprang from the hearts of the 
people in sadness and in joy indicated the unconceal- 
able talent of the Russian people. They were longing 
to sing, and music became almost as much a part of 
their lives as food. It is no wonder then that we find 
among the names of the Russian pianists such celeb- 
rities as Anton Rubinstein, Nicholas Rubinstein, 
Essipoff, Siloti, Rachmaninoff, Gabrilowitsch, Scria- 
bin, de Padunanu, Safonoff, Sapelbikoff and many 
others. It seems as though the Russian must be 
endowed by nature with those characteristics which 
enable him to penetrate the artistic maze that sur- 
rounds the wonders of music. He comes to music 
with a new talent, a new gift and finds first of all a 
great joy in his work. Much the same might be said 
of the Russian violinists and the Russian singers, 
many of whom have met with tremendous success. 



172 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

WITH THE MUSICAL CHILD IN RUSSIA 
The Russian parent usually has such a keen love for 
music that the child is watched from the very first for 
some indication that it may have musical talent. The 
parent knows how much music brings into the life of 
the child and he never looks upon the art as an accom- 
plishment for exhibition purposes, but rather as a 
source of great joy. Music is fostered in the home 
as a part of the daily existence. Indeed, business is 
kept far from the Russian fireside and the atmosphere 
of most homes of intelligent people is that of culture 
rather than commerce. If the child is really musical 
the whole household is seized with the ambition to 
produce an artist. In my own case, I was taught the 
rudiments of music at so early an age that I have 
no recollection of ever having learned how to begin. 
It came to me just as talking does with the average 
child. At five I could sing some of the Schumann 
songs and some of those of Beethoven. 

THE KIND or Music THE RUSSIAN CHILD HEARS 
The Russian child is spared all contact with really 
bad music. That is, he hears for the most part either 
the songs of the people or little selections from classi- 
cal or romantic composers that are selected especially 
with the view of cultivating his talent. He has prac- 
tically no opportunity to come in contact with any 
music that might be described as banal. America is 
a very young country and with the tension that one 



PIANO STUDY IN RUSSIA 173 

sees in American life on all sides there comes a ten- 
dency to accept music that may be most charitably 
described as " cheap." Very often the same themes 
found in this music, skilfully treated, would make 
worthy musical compositions. " Rag-time,' 3 and by 
this I refer to the peculiar rhythm and not to the bad 
music that Americans have come to class under this 
head, has a peculiar fascination for me. There is 
nothing objectionable about the unique rhythm, 
any more than there is anything iniquitous about the 
gypsy melodies that have made such excellent material 
for Brahms, Liszt and Sarasate. The fault lies in the 
clumsy presentation of the matter and its associations 
with vulgar words* The rhythm is often fascinating 
and exhilarating. Perhaps some day some American 
composer will glorify it in the Scherzo of a Symphony. 
In Russia, teachers lay great stress upon careful 
grading. Many teachers of note have prepared 
carefully graded lists of pieces, suitable to each stage 
of advancement. I understand that this same 
purpose is accomplished in America by the publi- 
cation of volumes of the music itself in different grades, 
although I have never seen any of these collections. 
The Russian teacher of children takes great care that 
the advancement of the pupil is not too rapid. The 
pupil is expected to be able to perform all the pieces 
in one grade acceptably before going to the next grade. 
I have had numerous American pupils and most of 
them sefem to have the fault of wanting to advance to a 
higher step long before they are really able. This 



174 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

is very wrong, and the pupil who insists upon such a 
course will surely realize some day that instead of 
advancing rapidly he is really throwing many annoy- 
ing obstacles directly in his own path, 

INSTRUCTION BOOKS 

Many juvenile instruction books are used in Russia 
just as in America. Some teachers, however, find 
that with pupils starting at an advanced age it is 
better to teach the rudiments without a book. This 
matter of method is of far greater importance than the 
average teacher will admit. The teacher often makes 
the mistake of living up in the clouds with Beethoven, 
Bach, Chopin, and Brahms, never realizing that the 
pupil is very much upon the earth, and that no matter 
how grandly the teacher may play, the pupil must have 
practical assistance within his grasp. The main duty 
in all elementary work is to make the piano study 
interesting, and the teacher must choose the course 
likely to arouse the most interest in the particular 
pupil. 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR VIRTUOSO-STUDENTS IN RUSSIA 
It may surprise the American student to hear that 
there are really more opportunities for him to secure 
public appearances right here in his own country than 
in Russia. In fact, it is really very hard to get a start 
in Russia unless , one is able to attract the attention 
of the public very forcibly. In America the standard 
may not be so high as that demanded in the musical 



PIANO STUDY IN RUSSIA 175 

circles of Russia, but the student has many chances 
to play that would never come to him in the old world. 
There, the only chance for the young virtuoso is at the 
conservatory concerts. There are many music schools 
in Russia that must content themselves with private 
recitals, but the larger conservatories have public con- 
certs of much importance, concerts that demand the 
attendance of renowned artists and compel the serious 
interest of the press. However, these concerts are few 
and far between, and only one student out of many 
hundreds has a chance to appear at them. 

One singular custom obtains in Russia in reference 
to concerts. The pianist coming from some other 
European country is paid more than the local pianist. 
For instance, although I am Russian by birth, I 
reside in Germany and receive a higher rate when I 
play in Russia than does the resident artist. In fact, 
this rate is often double. The young virtuoso in the 
early stages of his career receives about one hundred 
roubles an appearance in Russia, while the mature 
artist receives from 800 to xooo. The rouble, while 
having an exchange value of only fifty cents in United 
States currency, has a purchasing value of about one 
dollar in Russia. 

WHY RUSSIAN PIANISTS ARE FAMED FOR TECHNIC 
The Russian pianist is always famed for his techni- 
cal ability. Even the mediocre artists possess that. 
The great artists realize that the mechanical side of 
piano playing is but the basis, but they would no 



1 76 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

sooner think of trying to do without that basis than 
they would of dispensing with the beautiful artistic 
temples which they build upon the substantial 
foundation which technic gives to them. The 
Russian pianists have earned fame for their technical 
grasp because they give adequate study to the matter. 
Everything is done in the most solid, substantial 
manner possible. They build not upon sands, but 
upon rock. For instance, in the conservatory ex- 
aminations the student is examined first upon technic. 
If he fails to pass the technical examination he is 
not even asked to perform his pieces. Lack of pro- 
ficiency in technic is taken as an indication of a lack of 
the right preparation and study, just as the lack of 
the ability to speak simple phrases correctly would 
be taken as a lack of preparation in the case of the 
actor. 

"Particular attention is given to the mechanical side 
of technic, the exercises, scales and arpeggios. Ameri- 
can readers should understand that the full course at 
the leading Russian conservatories is one of about 
eight or nine years. During the first five years, the 
pupil is supposed to be building the base upon which 
must rest the more advanced work of the artist. The 
last three or four years at the conservatory are given 
over to the study of master works. Only pupils who 
manifest great talent are permitted to remain during 
the last year. During the first five years the backbone 
of the daily work in all Russian schools is scales and 
arpeggios. All technic reverts to these simple mater- 



PIANO STUDY IN RUSSIA 177 

ials and the student is made to understand this from 
his very entrance to the conservatory. As the time 
goes on the scales and arpeggios become more difficult, 
more varied, more rapid, but they are never omitted 
from the daily work. The pupil who attempted 
complicated pieces without this preliminary technical 
drill would be laughed at in Russia. I have been 
amazed to find pupils coming from America who have 
been able to play a few pieces fairly well, but who 
wonder why they find it difficult to extend their 
musical sphere when the whole trouble lies in an al- 
most total absence of regular daily technical work 
systematically pursued through several years. 

"Of course, there must be other technical material 
in addition to scales, but the highest technic, broadly 
speaking, may be traced back to scales and arpeggios. 
The practice of scales and arpeggios need never be 
mechanical or uninteresting. This depends upon the 
attitude of mind in which the teacher places the pupil. 
In fact, the teacher is largely responsible if the pupil 
finds scale practice dry or tiresome. It is because 
the pupil has not been given enough to think about 
in scale playing, not enough to look out for in nuance, 
evenness, touch, rhythm, etc., etc, 

MODERN RUSSIAN INFLUENCE IN MUSICAL ART 
"Most musicians of to-day appreciate the fact that in 
many ways the most modern effects sought by the 
composers who seek to produce extremely new effects 

have frequently been anticipated in Russia. How- 
12 



178 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ever, one signal difference exists between the Russians 
with ultra-modem ideas and the composers of other 
nations. The Russian's advanced ideas are almost 
always the result of a development as were those of 
Wagner, Verdi, Grieg, Haydn and Beethoven. That 
is, constant study and investigations have led them to 
see things in a newer and more radical way. In the 
case of such composers as Debussy, Strauss, Ravel, 
Reger and others of the type of musical Philistine 
it will be observed that to all intents and purposes, 
they started out as innovators. Schonberg is the 
most recent example. How long will it take the 
world to comprehend his message if he really has one? 
Certainly, at the present time, even the admirers of 
the bizarre in music must pause before they confess 
that they understand the queer utterings of this 
newest claimant for the palm of musical eccentricity. 
With Debussy, Strauss and others it is different, for 
the skilled musician at once recognizes an astonishing 
facility to produce effects altogether new and often 
wonderfully fascinating. With Reger one seems to be 
impressed with tremendous effort and little result. 
Strauss, however, is really a very great master; so 
great that it is difficult to get the proper perspective 
upon his work at this time. It is safe to say that all 
the modern composers of the world have been influ- 
enced in one way or another by the great Russian 
masters of to-day and yesterday. Tchaikovsky, 
Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui, Glazounov, Rachmaninov, 
Moussorgsky, Arensky, Scriabine and others, have all 



PIANO STUDY IN RUSSIA 179 

had a powerful bearing upon the musical thought of 
the times. Their virility and character have been 
due to the newness of the field in which they worked. 
The influence of the compositions of Rubinstein and 
Glinka can hardly be regarded as Russian since they 
were so saturated with European models that they 
might be ranked with Gluck, Mendelssohn, Liszt 
and Meyerbeer far better than with their fellow- 
countrymen who have expressed the idiom of Russia 
with greater veracity." 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNTC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XI 

JOSEF LHfiVINNE 

1. Is music a part of the daily life of the child in 
the Russian home? 

2. In what does the Russian teacher of children 
take great care? 

3. Why are Russian pianists famed for their 
technical ability? 

4. How are examinations conducted in Russia? 

5. What would be thought of the Russian pupil 
who attempted pieces without the proper preliminary 
scale work? 

6. Need the practice of scales be mechanical and 
uninteresting? 



l8o GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

7. Why do some pupils find technical studies 
tiresome? 

8. How does Russian musical progress in composi- 
tion differ from that of other musical nations ? 

9. Has Russian music influenced the progress of 
other musical nations? 

10. How may the compositions of Rubinstein and 
Glinka be regarded? 



*'*: -. 




<"- 





V. DE PACHMANN 



VLADIMIR DE PACHMANN 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Vladimir de Pachmann was born at Odessa, 
Russia, July 27, 1848. His first teacher was his 
father, who was a musical enthusiast and a fine per- 
former upon the violin. The elder de Pachmann was a 
Professor of Law at the University of Vienna and at 
first did not desire to have his son become anything 
more than a cultured amateur. In his youth de 
Pachmann was largely self taught and aside from 
hearing great virtuosos at concerts and modeling his 
playing to some extent after theirs he had no teachers 
until 1866 when he went to the Vienna Conservatory 
to study with the then celebrated teacher, Joseph 
Dachs. Dachs was a concert pianist of the old school. 
Academic perfection was his goal and he could not 
understand such a pupil as de Pachmann who was 
able to get results by what seemed un-academic 
means. After one year with Dachs de Pachmann 
toured Russia with great success and since then has 
made repeated tours of the entire musical world. 
He never gave any serious attention to musical 
composition. As an interpreter of the works of 
Chopin no one in recent times has ever excelled de 
Pachmann, but he also gave numerous recitals show- 
ing a great breadth of style in the performances of 
works of the other great masters particularly Brahms 
and Liszt. 

(The following conference was conducted in English, 
German, French and Italian.) 



181 



XIV 

SEEKING ORIGINALITY 

VLADIMIR DE PACHMANN 

THE MEANING OF O:RIGINALITY 
" ORIGINALITY in pianoforte playing, what does it 
really mean? Nothing more than the interpretation 
of one's real self instead of the artificial self which 
traditions, "mistaken advisors and our own natural 
sense of mimicry impose upon us. Seek for originality 
and it is gone like a gossamer shining in the morning 
grass. Originality is in one's self. It is the true 
voice of the heart. I would enjoin students to listen 
to their own inner voices. I do not desire to deprecate 
teachers, but I think that many teachers are in error 
when they fail to encourage their pupils to form their 
own opinions. 

"I have always sought the individual in myself. 
When I have found him. I play at my best. I try to 
do everything in my own individual way. I work for 
months to invent, contrive or design new fingerings 
not so much for simplicity, but to enable me to manipu- 
late the keys so that I may express the musical thought 
as it seems to me it ought to be expressed. See my 
hand, my fingers the flesh as soft as that of a child, 
yet covering muscles of steel. They are thus because 
I have worked from childhood to make them thus. 
"The trouble with most pupils in studying a piece 

182 



SEEKING ORIGINALITY 183 

is that when they seek individuality and originality, 
they go about it in the wrong way, and the result 
is a studied, stiff, hard performance. Let them 
listen to the voice, I say; to the inner voice, the voice 
which is speaking every moment of the day, but to 
which so many shut the ears of their soul, 

"Franz Liszt ah, you see I bow when I mention the 
name you never heard Franz Liszt? Ah, it was the 
great Liszt who listened listened to his inner voice. 
They said he was inspired. He was simply listening 
to himself. 

MACHINE TEACHING 

"Nun, passen Sie md aufl I abominate machine 
teaching. A certain amount of it may be necessary, 
but I hate it. It seems so brutal so inartistic* 
Instead of leading the pupil to seek results for himself, 
they lay down laws and see that these laws are obeyed, 
like gendarmes. It is possible, of course, by means of 
systematic training, to educate a boy so that he 
could play a concerto which he could not possibly 
comprehend intelligently until he became at least 
twenty years older; but please tell, what is the use 
of such a training? Is it artistic? Is it musical? 
Would it not be better to train him to play a piece 
which he could comprehend and which he could ex- 
press in his own way? 

"Of course I am not speaking now of the boy 
Mqzarts, the boy Liszts or other freaks of nature, but 
of the children who by machine-made methods are 



184 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

made to do things which nature never intended that 
they should do. This forcing method to which some 
conservatories seem addicted reminds one of those men 
who in bygone ages made a specialty of disfiguring 
the forms and faces of children, to make dwarfs, 
jesters and freaks out of them* Bah! 

OHGINAIITY THE ROAD To PERMANENT FAME 

" Originality in interpretation is of course no more 
important than originality in creation. See how the 
composers who have been the most original have been 
the ones who have laid the surest foundation for 
permanent fame. Here again true originality has 
been merely the highest form of self-expression, Non 
e vero? When the composer has sought originality 
and contrived to get it by purposely taking out-of-the- 
way methods, what has he produced? Nothing but a 
horrible sham a structure of cards which is destroyed 
by the next wind of fashion. 

"Other composers write for all time. They are 
original because they listen to the little inner voice, 
the true source of originality. It is the same in archi- 
tecture. Styles in architecture are evolved, not 
created, and whenever the architect has striven for 
bizarre effects he builds for one decade only. The 
architects who build for all time are different and yet 
how unlike, how individual, how original is the work 
of one great architect from that of another. 



SEEKING ORIGINALITY l8$ 

THE MOST ORIGINAL COMPOSERS 
" The most original of all composers, at least as they 
appear to me, is Johann Sebastian Bach. Perhaps 
this is because he is the most sincere. Next I should 
class Beethoven, that great mountain peak to whose 
heights so few ever soar. Then would come in order 
Liszt, Brahms, Schumann, Chopin, Weber, and 
Mendelssohn. Schumann more original than Chopin? 
Yes, at least so it seems to me. That is, there is 
something more distinctive, something more indicative 
of a great individuality speaking a new language, 

" Compare these men with composers of the order of 
Abt, Steibelt, Thalberg, and Donizetti, and you will 
see at once what I mean about originality being the 
basis of permanent art. For over twenty years my 
great fondness for mineralogy and for gems led me to 
neglect in a measure the development of the higher 
works of these composers, but I have realized my error 
and have been working enormously for years to attain 
the technic which their works demand. Some years 
ago I felt that technical development must cease at a 
certain age. This is all idiocy. I feel that I have now 
many times the technic I have ever had before and I 
have acquired it all in recent years. 

SELF-HELP THE SECRET OF MANY SUCCESSES 
"No one could possibly believe more in self-help 
than I. The student who goes to a teacher and 
imagines that the teacher will cast some magic spell 



l86 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

about him which, will make him a musician without 
working, has an unpleasant surprise in store for him. 
When I was eighteen I went to Dachs at the Vienna 
Conservatory. He bade me play something. I played 
the Rigoletto paraphrase of Liszt. Dachs commented 
favorably upon my touch but assured me that I was 
very much upon the wrong track and that I should 
study the Woltetnperirtes Klavier of Bach. He assured 
me that no musical education could be considered 
complete without an intimate acquaintance with the 
Bach fugues, which of course was most excellent 
advice. 

"Consequently I secured a copy of the fugues and 
commenced work upon them. Dachs had told me to 
prepare the first prelude and fugue for the following 
lesson. But D achs was not acquainted with my meth- 
ods of study. He did not know that I had mastered 
the art of concentration so that I could obliterate 
every suggestion of any other thought from my mind 
except that upon which I was working. He had no 
estimate of my youthful zeal and intensity. He did 
not know that I could not be satisfied unless I spent 
the entire day working with all my artistic might and 
main. 

"Soon I saw the wonderful design of the great 
master of Eisenach. The architecture of the fugues 
became plainer and plainer. Each subject became a 
friend and each answer likewise. It was a great joy 
to observe with what marvelous craftsmanship he had 
built up the wonderful structures. I could not stop 



SEEKING ORIGINALITY 18) 

when I had memorized the first fugue, so I went to the 
next and the next and the next. 

A SURPRISED TEACHER 

"At the following lesson I went with my book under 
my arm. I requested him to name a fugue. He did, 
and I pkced the dosed book on the rack before me, 
After I had finished playing he was dumfounded. 
He said, Tou come to me to take lessons. You al- 
ready know the great fugues and I have taught you 
nothing/ Thinking that I would find Chopin more 
difficult to memorize, he suggested that I learn two of 
the etudes. I came at the following lesson with the 
entire twenty-four memorized. Who could with- 
stand the alluring charm of the Chopin etudes? 
Who could resist the temptation to learn them all 
when they are once commenced? 

"An actor learns page after page in a few days, and 
why should the musician go stumbling along for 
months in his endeavor to learn something which he 
could master in a few hours with the proper interest 
and the burning concentration without which all 
music study is a farce? 

"It was thus during my entire course with Dachs. 
He would suggest the work and I would go off by 
myself and learn it. I had practically no method. 
Each page demanded a different method. Each page 
presented entirely new and different technical ideas." 



1 88 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

DEEP THOUGHT NECESSARY 
"As a rule piano students do not think deeply 
enough. They skim over the really difficult things 
and no amount of persuasion will make them believe 
some very simple things difficult. Take the scale of 
C Major, for instance. This scale is by far the most 
difficult of all. To play it with true legato, at any 
desired degree of force or speed, in any desired 
rhythm and with any desired touch, is one of the most 
difficult achievements in all music. Yet the young 
pupil will literally turn up his nose at the scale of C 
Major and at the same time claim that he is perfectly 
competent to play a Beethoven Sonata, 

"The scale of C should be learned step by step until 
the practice habits are so formed that they will reign 
supreme while playing all the other scales. This is 
the way to secure results go deep into things. Pearls 
lie at the bottom of the sea. Most pupils seem to ex- 
pect them floating upon the surface of the water. 
They never float, and the one who would have his 
scales shine with the beauty of splendid gems must 
first dive deep for the gems. 

"But what is the use of saying all this? To tell it 
to young pupils seems to be a waste of words. They 
will go on making their mistakes and ignoring the 
advice of their teachers and mentors until the great 
teacher of all experience forces them to dive for 
the hidden riches. 



SEEKING ORIGINALITY 189 

TAKE TIME To Do THINGS WELL 
"Every pianist advances at a rate commensurate 
with his personal ability. Some pianists are slow in 
development. Others with wonderful natural gifts 
go ahead very quickly. The student will see some 
pianist make wonderful progress and will sometimes 
imitate him without giving the time or effort to study 
that the other pianist has given. The artist will 
spend months upon a Chopin valse. The student 
feels injured if he cannot play it in a day. 

"Look, I will play the wonderful Nocturne of Chopin 
in G, Opus No. 2. The legato thirds seem simple? 
Ah, if I could only tell you of the years that are 
behind those thirds. The human mind is peculiar 
in its methods of mastering the movements of the 
fingers, and to get a great masterpiece so that you can 
have supreme control over it at all times and under all 
conditions demands a far greater effort than the 
ordinary non-professional music lover can imagine. 

MASTERING ARTISTIC DETAILS 
"Each note in a composition should be polished 
until it is as perfect as a jewel as perfect as an Indian 
diamond those wonderful scintillating, ' ever-chang- 
ing orbs of light. In a really great masterpiece each 
note has its place just as the stars, the jewels of heaven, 
have their places in their constellations. When a 
star moves it moves in an orbit that was created by 
nature. 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

"Great musical masterpieces owe their existence to 
mental forces quite as miraculous as those which put 
the heavens into being. The notes in compositions 
of this kind are not there by any rule of man. They 
come through the ever mystifying source which we 
call inspiration. Each note must bear a distinct 
relation to the whole. 

"An artist in jewels in making a wonderful work of 
art does not toss his jewels together in any haphazard 
way. He often has to wait for months to get the 
right ruby, or the right pearl, or the right diamond to 
fit in the right place. Those who do not know might 
think one gem just like another, but the artist knows. 
He has been looking at gems, examining them under 
the microscope. There is a meaning in every facet, 
in every shade of color. He sees blemishes which the 
ordinary eye would never detect. 

"Finally he secures his jewels and arranges them in 
some artistic form, which results in a masterpiece. 
The public does not know the reason why, but it will 
instantly realize that the work of the artist is in some 
mysterious way superior to the work of the bungler. 
Thus it is that the mind of the composer works spon- 
taneously in selecting the musical jewels for the dia- 
dem which is to crown him \vith fame. During the 
process of inspiration he does not realize that he is 
selecting his jewels with lightning rapidity, but with a 
highly cultivated artistic judgment. When the musi- 
cal jewels are collected and assembled he regards the 
work as a whole as the work of another. He does not 



SEEKING ORIGINALITY IQI 

realize that he has been going through the process of 
collecting them. Schubert failed to recollect some 
of his own compositions only a few days after he had 
written them. 

SOMETHING No ONE CAN TEACH 
"Now the difficulty with students is that they do 
not take time to polish the jewels which the composers 
have selected with such keen aesthetic discernment. 
They think it enough if they merely succeed in playing 
the note. How horrible! A machine can play the 
notes, but there is only one machine with a soul and 
that is the artist To think that an artist should play 
only the notes and forget the glories of the inspiration 
which came in the composer's mind during the moment 
of creation. 

"Let me play the D flat Chopin Nocturne for you. 
Please notice how the notes all bear a relation to each 
other, how everything is in right proportion. Do you 
think that came in a day? Ah, my friend, the polish- 
ing of those jewels took far longer than the polishing 
of the Kohinoor. Yet I have heard young girls 
attempt to play this piece for me expecting appro- 
bation, of course, and I am certain that they could 
not have practiced upon it more than a year or so. 
They evidently think that musical masterpieces can 
be brought into being like the cobwebs which rise 
during the night to be torn down by the weight of the 
dew of the following morning. Imbecittitd! 



192 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

THE BEST TEACHER 

"They play just as their teachers have told them to 
play, which is of course good as far as it goes* But 
they stop at that, and no worthy teacher expects his 
pupil to stop with his instruction. The best teacher 
is the one who incites his pupil to penetrate deeper 
and learn new beauties by himself. A teacher in the 
highest sense of the word is not a mint, coining pupils 
as it were and putting the same stamp of worth upon 
each pupil. 

"The great teacher is an artist who works in men 
and women. Every pupil is different, and he must be 
very quick to recognize these differences. He should 
first of all teach the pupil that there are hundreds of 
things which no teacher can ever hope to teach. 
He must make his pupil keenly alert to this. There 
are hundreds of things about my own playing which 
are virtually impossible to teach. I would not know 
how to convey them to others so that they might be 
intelligently learned. Such things I have found out 
for myself by long and laborious experimentation. 
The control of my fifth finger in certain fingerings 
presented endless problems which could only be worked 
out at the keyboard. Such things give an individual- 
ity to the pianist's art, something which cannot be 
copied. 

"Have you ever been in a foreign art gallery and 
watched the copyists trying to reproduce the works 
of the masters? Have you ever noticed that though 



SEEKING ORIGINALITY 193 

they get the form, the design, and even tne colors and 
also that with all these resemblances there] is some- 
thing which distinguishes the work of the master 
from the work of the copyist, something so wonderful 
that even a child can see it? You wonder at this? 
Pourquoi? No one can learn by copying the secret 
the master has learned in creating. 

THE BASIS or GREATNESS 

"Here we have a figure which brings out very clearly 
the real meaning of originality in piano playing and 
at the same time indicates how every pupil with or 
without a teacher should work for himself. Why was 
the great Liszt greater than any pianist of his time? 
Simply because he found out certain pianistic secrets 
which Czerny or any of Liszt's teachers and contem- 
poraries had failed to discover. 

"Why has Godowsky Achl Godowsky, der i$t 
wirklich ein grosser Talent how has he attained his 
wonderful rank? Because he has worked out certain 
contrapuntal and technical problems which place fa' 
in a class all by himself. I consider him the greatest 
master of the mysteries of counterpoint since the 
heyday of classical polyphony. Why does Busoni 
produce inimitable results at the keyboard? Simply 
because he was not satisfied to remain content with 
the knowledge he had obtained from others. 

"This then is my life secretwork, unending work. 
I have no other secrets. I have developed myself 
along the lines revealed to me by my inner voice. I 

13 



194 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

have studied myself as well as my art. I have learned 
to study mankind through the sciences and through 
the great literary treasures, you see; I speak many 
languages fluently, I have stepped apace with the 
crowd, I have drunk the bitter and the sweet from the 
chalices of life, but remember, I have never stopped, 
and to-day I am just as keenly interested in my prog- 
ress as I was many years ago as a youth. The new 
repertoire of the works of Liszt and Brahms and other 
composers demanded a different technic, a bigger 
technic. What exquisite joy it was to work for it. 
Yes, mio amico, work is the greatest intoxication, the 
greatest blessing, the greatest solace we can know. 
Therefore work, work, work. But of all things, my 
good musical friends in America, remember the old 
German proverb: 

" 'Das mag die besfc Musik sein 
Wenn Hers und Mund stimmt uberein.'" 

(" Music is best when ihe heart and lips (mouth) 
speak together.") 



SEEKING ORIGINALITY 195 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OP PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XH 

VLADIMIR DE PACEMANN 

1. What does originality in pianoforte playing 
really mean? 

2. State something of the evils of the forcing 
methods of training applied to young children. 

3. Have the compositions of the most original 
composers been the most enduring? 

4. Name seven of the most original composers for 
the pianoforte. 

5. Must the pupil continually help himself? 

6. What is considered the most difficult scale to 
learn? 

7. Is a great virtuoso obliged to practice years 
in order to secure results? 

8. How may piano study be compared with the 
polishing of beautiful jewels? 

9. Tell what characteristics a great teacher must 
have. 

10. What lies at the foundation of pianistic great- 
ness? 



MAXPAUER 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Prof. Max Pauer was born in London, England, 
October 31, 1866, and is the son of the eminent 
musical educator, Ernst Pauer, who settled in Eng- 
land in 1851, and aside from filling many of the fore- 
most positions in British musical life, also produced a 
great number of instructive works, which have been 
of immeasurable value in disseminating musical 
education in England. His work on Musical Forms 
is known to most all music students. Prof* Max 
Pauer studied with his father at the same time his 
parent was instructing another famous British-born 
pianist, Eugen d'Albert. At the age of fifteen he 
went to Karlsruhe, where he came under the instruc- 
tion of V. Lachner. In 1885 he returned to London 
and continued to advance through self-study. In 1887 
he received the appointment at the head of the piano 
department in the Cologne Conservatory. This 
position he retained for ten years, until his appoint- 
ment at Stuttgart, first as head teacher in the piano 
department and later as director of the School 
During this period the organization of the famous old 
conservatory has changed totally. The building 
occupied was very old and unfit for modern needs. 
The new conservatory building is a splendid structure 
located in one of the most attractive parts of the city. 
The old methods, old equipment, old ideas have been 
abandoned, and a wholly different atmosphere is said 
to pervade the institution, while all that was best in 
the old rigime has been retained. Prof. Pauer made 
his dtbut as a virtuoso pianist in London. Since then 
he has toured all Europe except the Latin countries. 
He has published several compositions for the piano. 
His present tour of America is his first in the New 
World 

196 



*', '/'* 



4 






* / 




MAX PAUER 



XV 
MODERN PIANISTIC PROBLEMS 

MAX PAUER 

ACQUIRING TEE REQUISITE TECENIC 
preservation of one's individuality in playing 
is perhaps one of the most difficult, and at the same 
time one of the most essential tasks in the study of 
the pianoforte. The kind of technical study that 
passes the student through a certain process, ap- 
parently destined to make him as much like his pre- 
decessors as possible, is hardly the kind of technic 
needed to make a great artist. Technical ability, 
after all is said and done, depends upon nothing more 
than physiologically correct motion applied to the 
artistic needs of the masterpiece to be performed. 
It implies a clear understanding of the essentials in 
bringing out the composer's idea. The pupil must not 
be confused with inaccurate thinking. For instance, 
we commonly hear of the ' wrist touch/ More 
pupils have been hindered through this clumsy 
terminology than I should care to estimate. There 
cannot be a wrist touch since the wrist is nothing 
more than a wonderful natural hinge of bone and 
muscle. With the pupil's mind centered upon his 
wrist he is more than likely to stiffen it and form 
habits which can only be removed with much difficulty 
by the teacher. This is only an instance of one of the 
loose expressions with which the terminology of tech- 

197 



IpS GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

nic is encumbered. When the pupil comes to recog- 
nize the wrist as a condition rather than a thing he 
will find that the matter of the tight, cramped wrist 
will cease to have its terrors. In fact, as far as touch 
itself is concerned, the motion of the arm as a whole 
is vastly more important than that of the wrist. 
The wrist is merely part of the apparatus which com- 
municates the weight of the arm to the keyboard. 

INNOVATORS SHOULD BE PIANISTS 
"In my opinion the technical needs of the piano 
are likely to be far better understood by the virtuoso 
pianist than by one who has never been through the 
experiences which lead to the concert platform. 
Please do not infer that I would say that all teachers 
should be virtuoso pianists. I am referring partic- 
ularly to the makers of methods. I am continually 
confronted in my teaching with all manner of absurd 
ideas in piano technic. For instance, one pupil will 
come and exhibit an exercise which requires her to 
press hard upon the keyboard after the note is struck. 
Just why there should be this additional waste of 
nerve force when it can have no possible effect upon 
the depressed key I have never been able to find out. 
There is enough nervous energy expended in piano- 
forte study as it is without exacting any more from 
the pupil. Pupils are frequently carried away with 
some technical trick of this kind like a child with a 
new toy. They do these things without ever con- 
sulting their own judgment. " 



MODERN PIANISTIC PROBLEMS 199 

The whole idea of technic then is to achieve a 
position through conscious effort, where one may 
dispense with conscious effort* Not until this can be 
accomplished can we hope for real self-expression in 
playing. Nothing is so odious as the obtrusion of 
technic in any work of art* Technic is the trellis 
concealed beneath the foliage and the blossoms of the 
bower. When the artist is really great all idea of 
technic is forgotten. He must be absorbed by the 
sheer beauty of his musical message, his expression 
of his musical self. In listening to Rubinstein or to 
Liszt one forgot all idea of technic, and it must be so 
with all great artists in every branch of art in every 
age. What we claim when we attend a recital is 
the individual artist, unrestrained by mechanical 
bonds. 

Very few of the great masters of pianoforte playing 
have delved very deeply into the technical pedagogical 
side of their art, as for instance have Tausig, Ehrlich 
or Joseffy, all of whom have produced remarkable 
works on technic. Liszt's contribution to the technic 
of the instrument was made through his pieces, not 
through exercises; his contributions to the Lebert 
and Stark Stuttgart Conservatory method consist of 
two well-known concert studies. Personally, I am 
opposed to set methods, that is, those that pretend to 
teach the pupil factory-wise. Of what value is the 
teacher if he is not to apply his knowledge with the 
discretion that comes with experience? 

Deppe's influence to this day is far more theoretical 



200 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

than practical. This does not imply that Deppe did 
not evolve some very useful ideas in pianoforte work. 
All of present technic is a common heritage from many 
investigators and innovators. Pianoforte teaching, 
as a matter of fact, is one of the most difficult of all 
tasks. It is easy to teach it along conventional 
"cut and dried" method lines, but the teachers of 
real importance are those who have the ability, the 
gift, the inclination and the experience to make a 
brand new method for every pupil. 

In order to develop the means to communicate 
one's message through one's art with the greatest 
effectiveness, there must be a mastery of the delicate 
balance between natural tendencies and discipline, 
If the student is subjected to too much discipline, 
stiff, angular results may be expected, If the student 
is permitted to play with the flabby looseness which 
some confuse with natural relaxation, characterless 
playing must invariably result. The great desidera- 
tum is the fine equilibrium between nature and dis- 
cipline. This may seem an unnecessary observation 
to some, but many students never seem to be able to 
strike the happy medium between marching over the 
keys like a regiment of wooden soldiers, or crawling 
over them like a lot of spineless caterpillars. 

AVOID MACHINE-LIKE PLAYING 
There is a certain "something" which defines the 
individuality of the player, and it seems well nigh 
impossible to say just what this something is. Let us 



MODERN PIANISTIC PROBLEMS 201 

by all means preserve it. Imagine the future of music 
if every piece were to be played in the selfsame way 
by every player like a series of ordinary piano playing 
machines. The remarkable apparatus for recording 
the playing of virtuosos, and then reproducing it 
through a mechanical contrivance, is somewhat of a 
revelation to the pianist who tries it for the first time. 
In the records of the playing of artists whose inter- 
pretations are perfectly familiar to me, there still 
remain unquestioned marks of individuality. Some- 
times these marks are small shortcomings, but which, 
nevertheless, are so slight that they do no more than 
give character. Look at a painting by Van Dyke, 
and then at one upon a similar subject by Rembrandt, 
and you will realize how these little characteristics 
influence the whole outward aspect of an art work. 
Both Van Dyke and Rembrandt were Dutchmen, and, 
in a sense, contemporaries. They used pigments 
and brushes, canvas and oil, yet the masterpieces 
of each are readily distinguishable by any one slightly 
familiar with their styles. It is precisely the same 
with pianists. All of us have arms, fingers, muscles 
and nerves, but what we have to say upon the key- 
board should be an expression of our own minds, not a 
replica of some stereotyped model. 

When I listened to the first record of my own play- 
ing, I heard things which seemed unbelievable to me. 
Was I, after years of public playing, actually making 
mistakes that I would be the first to condemn in any 
one of my own pupils? I could hardly believe my 



202 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ears, and yet the unrelenting machine showed that 
in some places I had failed to play both hands exactly 
together, and had been guilty of other errors no less 
heinous, because they were trifling. I also learned 
in listening to my own playing, as reproduced, that 
I had unconsciously brought out certain nuances, 
emphasized different voices and employed special 
accents without the consciousness of having done so, 
Altogether it made a most interesting study for me, 
and it became very clear that the personality of the 
artist must permeate everything that he does. When 
his technic is sufficiently great it permits him to speak 
with fluency and self-expression, enhancing the value 
of his work a thousandfold. 

BROAD UNDERSTANDING NECESSARY 

"It would be a great mistake for the student to 
imagine that by merely acquiring finger dexterity and 
a familiarity with a certain number of pieces he may 
consider himself proficient There is vastly more to 
piano-playing than that. He must add to his digital 
ability and his repertoire and comprehensive grasp of 
the principles of music itself. The pupil should strive 
to accomplish as much as possible through mental 
work. The old idea of attempting to play every 
single study written by Czerny, or Cramer or the other 
prolific writers of studies is a huge mistake. A judi- 
cious selection from the works of these pedagogical 
writers is desirable but certainly not all of them. They 
are at best only the material with which one must work 



MODERN PIANISTIC PROBLEMS 203 

for a certain aim, and that aim should be high artistic 
results. It should be realized by all students and 
teachers that this same study material, excellent in 
itself, may actually produce bad results if not properly 
practiced. I have repeatedly watched students 
practicing industriously, but becoming worse and 
worse and actually cultivating faults rather than 
approaching perfection. The student must always 
remember that his fingers are only the outward 
organs of his inner consciousness, and while his work 
may be mechanical in part he should never think 
mechanically. The smallest technical exercise must 
have its own direction, its own aim. Nothing should 
be done without some definite purpose in view. The 
student should have pointed out to him just what the 
road he must travel is, and where it leads to. The 
ideal teacher is the one who gives the pupil something 
to take home and work out at home, not the one who 
works out the student's lesson for him in the class 
room. The teacher's greatest mission is to raise the 
consciousness of the pupil until he can appreciate his 
own powers for developing an idea. 

FREEDOM FROM CONVENTION 
"Oh the horror of the conventional, the absolutely 
right, the human machine who cannot make an error! 
The balance between the frigidly correct and the 
abominably loose is a most difficult one to maintain. 
It is, of course, desirable that the young student pass 
through a certain period of strict discipline, but if 



204 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

this discipline succeeds in making an automaton, of 
what earthly use is it? Is it really necessary to in- 
struct our little folks to think that everything must be 
done in a " cut and dried" manner? Take the simple 
matter of time, for instance. Listen to the playing 
of most young pupils and you will hear nothing but a 
kind of "railroad train " rhythm. Every measure 
bumps along precisely like the last one. The pupil 
has been taught to observe the bar signs like stone 
walls partitioning the whole piece off into sections. 
The result as a whole is too awful to describe. As a 
matter of fact, the bar signs, necessary as they are as 
guide-posts when we are learning the elements of 
notation, are often the means of leading the poorly 
trained pupil to a wholly erroneous interpretation. 
For instance, in a passage like the following from 
Beethoven's F minor Sonata, Opus 2, No. i (dedicated 
to Joseph Haydn), Beethoven's idea must have been 
the following: 




before it was divided into measures by bar lines as 
now found printed: 



MODERN PIANISTIC PROBLEMS 205 

The trouble with the pupil in playing the above is that 
he seems inclined to observe the bar lines very care- 
fully and lose all idea of the phrase as a whole. Music 
should be studied by phrases, not by measures. In 
studying a poem you strive first of all to get the poet's 
meaning as expressed in his phrases and in his sen- 
tences; you do not try to mumble a few words in an 
arbitrary manner. The pupil who never gets over the 
habit of playing in measures, who never sees the com- 
poser's message as a whole rather than in little seg- 
ments can never play artistically. Many students fail 
to realize that in some pieces it is actually misleading 
to count the beats in the measure. The rhythm of the 
piece as a whole is often marked by a series of meas- 
ures, and one must count the measures as units rather 
than the notes in the measures. For instance, the 
following section from a Chopin Valse, Opus 64, No. 
i (sometimes called the Minute Vdse), may best be 
counted by counting the measures thus : 




Every pupil knows that the first beat in each ordinary 
measure of four-quarter time carries a strong accent, 
the third beat the next strongest,^and the second and 
fourth beats still weaker accents^ In a series of meas- 



206 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ures which may be counted in fours, it will be found 
that the same arrangement often prevails. The pupil 
will continually meet opportunities to study his work 
along broader lines, and the wonderful part of it all 
is that music contains so much that is interesting and 
surprising, that there need be no end to his investiga- 
tions. Every page from a master work that has been 
studied for years is likely to contain some unsolved 
problem if the student can only see it right and hunt 
for it 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC or PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES xm 

MAXPAUER 

1. Define technical ability. 

2. Describe some useless technical tricks. 

3. Do great pianists devote much time to writing 
upon piano technic? 

4. State the evils of too much discipline. 

5. How may machine-like playing be avoided? 

6* State how faults axe most frequently developed. 

7. Why must one seek to avoid conventions? 

8. Should music be studied by phrases or measures? 

9. Play the Chopin Valse Opus 64, No i, indicating 
how it may best be counted. 

10. Where must the student find his problems? 





S. V. RACHMANINOFF 



S. V. RACHMANINOFF 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Sergei Vassilievitch Rachmaninoff was born at Nov- 
gorod, Russia, April ist, 1873. At the Moscow 
Conservatory he was placed under the instruction 
of Siloti who had been one of the favorite Russian 
pupils of Franz Liszt. This master imparted a very 
facile technic to Rachmaninoff and made him so 
thoroughly acquainted with the best literature of 
the instrument that his compositions became recog- 
nized at once as those of a thorough master of the 
keyboard. His teacher in composition was Arensky, 
who in addition to his skill in the technic of the art 
had a fund of melody which is a delight to all those 
who know his works. In 1891 Rachmaninoff won 
the great gold medal at the Moscow Conservatory 
and his work as a composer commenced to attract 
favorable attention throughout all Europe. In addi- 
tion to this his ability as a pianist attracted wide 
notice and his tours have been very successful. His 
compositions have been cast in many different forms 
from opera to songs and piano pieces. His most 
popular work is tlie Prelude in C Sharp Minor which 
is in the repertoire of all advanced students. His 
appointment as Supervisor General of the Imperial 
conservatories of Russia was one of the highest di&- 
tinctions that could be conferred in the land of the 
Czar. The correct pronunciation of the name as 
given by the composer is Rokh-mahn-ee-noff. 

(The following conference was conducted in 
German.) 



907 



XVI 
ESSENTIALS OF ARTISTIC PLAYING 

S. V. RACHMANINOFF 

FORMING TEE. PROPER CONCEPTION or A PIECE 
IT is a seemingly impossible task to define the 
number of attributes of really excellent pianoforte 
playing. By selecting ten important characteristics, 
however, and considering them carefully, one at a 
time, the student may learn much that will give him 
food for thought. After all, one can never tell in 
print what can be communicated by the living 
teacher. In undertaking the study of a new com- 
position it is highly important to gain a conception 
of the work as a whole. One must comprehend the 
main design of the composer. Naturally, there are 
technical difficulties which must be worked out, 
measure by measure, but unless the student can 
form some idea of the work in its larger proportions 
his finished performance may resemble a kind of 
musical patchwork. Behind every composition is 
the architectural plan of the composer. The student 
should endeavor, first of all, to discover this plan, 
and then he should build in the manner in which the 
composer would have had him build. 

You ask me, "How can the student form the 
proper conception of the work as a whole? J) Doubt- 
less the best way is to hear it performed by some 

208 



ESSENTIALS OF ARTISTIC PLAYING 209 

pianist whose authority as an interpreter cannot be 
questioned. However, many students are so situated 
that this course is impossible. It is also often quite 
impossible for the teacher, who is busy teaching 
from morning to night, to give a rendering of the 
work that would be absolutely perfect in all of its 
details. However, one can gain something from the 
teacher who can, by his genius, give the pupil an idea 
of the artistic demands of the piece. 

If the student has the advantage of hearing neither 
the virtuoso nor the teacher he need not despair, 
if he has talent. Talent! Ah, that is the great thing 
in all musical work. If he has talent he will see with 
the eyes of talent that wonderful force which pene- 
trates all artistic mysteries and reveals the truths as 
nothing else possibly can. Then he grasps, as if by 
intuition, the composer's intentions in writing the 
work, and, like the true interpreter, communicates 
these thoughts to his audience in their proper form. 

TECHNICAL PROFICIENCY 

It goes without saying, that technical proficiency 
should be one of the first acquisitions of the student 
who would become a fine pianist. It is impossible 
to conceive of fine playing that is not marked by 
dean, fluent, distinct, elastic technic. The technical 
ability of the performer should be of such a nature 
that it can be applied immediately to all the artistic 
demands of the composition to be interpreted- Of 
course, there may be individual passages which re- 

14 



210 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

quire some special technical study, but, generally 
speaking, tedroic is worthless unless the hands and 
the mind of the player are so trained that they can 
encompass the principal difficulties found in modern 
compositions. 

In the music schools of Russia great stress is laid 
upon technic. Possibly this may be one of the rea- 
sons why some of the Russian pianists have been 
so favorably received in recent years. The work in 
the leading Russian conservatories is almost entirely 
under supervision of the Imperial Musical Society, 
The system is elastic in that, although all students are 
obliged to go through the same course, special attention 
is given to individual cases. Technic, however, is at 
first made a matter of paramount importance. All 
students must become technically proficient. None 
are excused. It may be interesting to hear something 
of the general plan followed in the Imperial music 
schools of Russia. The course is nine years in dura- 
tion. During the first five years the student gets 
most of his technical instruction from a book of studies 
by Hanon, which is used very extensively in the con- 
servatories. In fact, this is practically the only 
book of strictly technical studies employed. All of 
the studies are in the key of "C." They include 
scales, arpeggios, and other forms of exercises in 
special technical designs. 

At the end of the fifth year an examination takes 
place. This examination is twofold. The pupil is 
examined first for proficiency in technic, and later 



ESSENTIALS OF ARTISTIC PLAYING 211 

for proficiency in artistic playing pieces, studies, 
etc. However, if the pupil fails to pass the technical 
examination he is not permitted to go ahead. He 
knows the exercises in the book of studies by Hanon 
so well that he knows each study by number, and the 
examiner may ask him, for instance, to play study 17, 
or 28, or 32, etc. The student at once sits at the key- 
board and plays. 

Although the original studies are all in the key of 
"C," he may be requested to play them in any other 
key. He has studied them so thoroughly that he 
should be able to play them in any key desired. A 
metronomic test is also applied. The student knows 
that he will be expected to play the studies at certain 
rates of speed. The examiner states the speed and the 
metronome is started. The pupil is required, for 
instance, to play the E flat major scale with the met- 
ronome at 120, eight notes to the beat. If he is 
successful in doing this, he is marked accordingly, 
and other tests are given. 

Personally, I believe this matter of insisting upon 
a thorough technical knowledge is a very vital one. 
The mere ability to play a few pieces does not con- 
stitute musical proficiency. It is like those music 
boxes which possess only a few tunes. The student's 
technical grasp should be all-embracing. 

Later the student is given advanced technical 
exercises, like those of Tausig. Czerny is also very 
deservedly popular. Less is heard of the studies of 
Henselt, however, notwithstanding his long service 



212 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

in Russia. Henselt's studies are so beautiful that 
they should rather be classed with pieces like the stud- 
ies of Chopin. 

PROPER PHRASING 

An artistic interpretation is not possible if the 
student does not know the laws underlying the very 
important subject of phrasing, Unfortunately many 
editions of good music are found wanting in proper 
phrase markings. Some of the phrase signs are 
erroneously applied. Consequently the only safe 
way is for the student to make a special study of 
this important branch of musical art. In the olden 
days phrase signs were little used. Bach used them 
very sparingly. It was not necessary to mark them 
in those times, for every musician who counted him- 
self a musician could determine the phrases as he 
played. But a knowledge of the means of defining 
phrases in a composition is by no means all-sufficient. 
Skill in executing the phrases is quite as important. 
The real musical f eeling must exist in the mind of the 
composer or all the knowledge of correct phrasing 
he may possess will be worthless. 

REGULATING THE TEMPO 

If a fine musical feeling, or sensitiveness, must 
control the execution of the phrases, the regulation 
of the tempo demands a kind of musical ability no 
less exacting. Although in most cases the tempo 
of a given composition is now indicated by means 



ESSENTIALS OF ARTISTIC PLAYING 213 

of the metronomic markings, the judgment of the 
player must also be brought frequently into requisi- 
tion. He cannot follow the tempo marks blindly, 
although it is usually unsafe for him to stray very 
far from these all-important musical sign-posts. 
The metronome itself must not be used "with closed 
eyes/' as we should say it in Russia. The player 
must use discretion. I do not approve of continual 
practice with the metronome. The metronome is 
designed to set the time, and if not abused is a very 
faithful servant. However, it should only be used 
for this purpose. The most mechanical playing 
imaginable can proceed from those who make them- 
selves slaves to this little musical clock, which was 
never intended to stand like a ruler over every minute 
of the student's practice time. 

CHARACTER IN PLAYING 

Too few students realize that there is continual 
and marvelous opportunity for contrast in playing. 
Every piece is a piece unto itself. It should, there- 
fore, have its own peculiar interpretation. There 
are performers whose playing seems all. alike. It 
is like the meals served in some hotels Every- 
thing brought to the table has the same taste. Of 
course, a successful performer must have a strong 
individuality, and all of his interpretations must 
bear the mark of this individuality, but at the same 
time he should seek variety constantly. A Chopin 
ballade must have quite a different interpretation 



214 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

from a Scarlatti Capriccio. There is really very lit- 
tle in common between a Beethoven Sonata and a 
Liszt Rhapsody. Consequently, the student must 
seek to give each piece a different character. Each 
piece must stand apart as possessing an individual 
conception, and if the player fails to convey this 
impression to his audience, he is little better than 
some mechanical instrument. Josef Hofmarm has 
the ability of investing each composition with an 
individual and characteristic charm that has always 
been very delightful to me. 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PEDAL 
The pedal has been called the soul of the piano, 
I never realized what this meant until I heard Anton 
Rubinstein, whose playing seemed so marvelous to 
me that it beggars description. His mastery of the 
pedal was nothing short of phenomenal. In the last 
movement of the B flat minor sonata of Chopin he 
produced pedal effects that can never be described, 
but for any one who remembers them they will 
always be treasured as one of the greatest of musical 
joys. The pedal is the study of a lifetime. It is 
the most difficult branch of higher pianoforte study. 
Of course, one may make rules for its use, and the 
student should carefully study all these rules, but, at 
the same time, these rules may often be skilfully 
broken in order to produce some very charming effects. 
The rules represent a few known principles that are 
within the grasp of our musical intelligence. They 



ESSENTIALS OF ARTISTIC PLATING 21$ 

may be compared with the planet upon which we live, 
and about which we know so much. Beyond the rules, 
however, is the great universe the celestial system 
which only the telescopic artistic sight of the great 
musician can penetrate. This, Rubinstein, and some 
others, have done, bringing to our mundane vision 
undreamt-of beauties which they alone could perceive. 

THE DANGER OF CONVENTION 
While we must respect the traditions of the past, 
which for the most part are very intangible to us 
because they are only to be found in boob, we must, 
nevertheless, not be bound down by convention. 
Iconoclasm is the law of artistic progress. All great 
composers and performers have built upon the ruins 
of conventions that they themselves have destroyed. 
It is infinitely better to create than to imitate. Before 
we can create, however, it is well to make ourselves 
familiar with the best that has preceded us. This 
applies not only to composition, but to pianoforte 
playing as well. The master pianists, Rubinstein 
and Liszt, were both marvelously broad in the scope 
of their knowledge. They knew the literature of the 
pianoforte in all its possible branches. They made 
themselves familiar with every possible phase of musi- 
cal advancement. This is the reason for their gi- 
gantic prominence. Their greatness was not the hollow 
shell of acquired technic. THEY KNEW. Oh, for 
more students in these days with the genuine thirst 



2 1 6 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

for real musical knowledge, and not merely with the 
desire to make a superficial exhibition at the keyboard! 

REAL MUSICAL UNDERSTANDING 
I am told that some teachers lay a great deal of 
stress upon the necessity for the pupil learning the 
source of the composer's inspiration. This is inter- 
esting, of course, and may help to stimulate a dull 
imagination. However, I am convinced that it 
would be far better for the student to depend more 
upon his real musical understanding. It is a mis- 
take to suppose that the knowledge of the fact that 
Schubert was inspired by a certain poem, or that 
Chopin was inspired by a certain legend, could ever 
make up for a lack of the real essentials leading to 
good pianoforte playing. The student must see, 
first of all, the main points of musical relationship 
in a composition. He must understand what it is 
that gives the work unity, cohesion, force, or grace, 
and must know how to bring out these elements. 
There is a tendency with some teachers to magnify 
the importance of auxiliary studies and minimize 
the importance of essentials. This course is wrong, 
and must lead to erroneous results. 

PLAYING TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC 

The virtuoso must have some far greater motive 

than that of playing for gain. He has a mission, 

and that mission is to educate the public. It is quite 

as necessary for the sincere student in the home 



ESSENTIALS OP ARTISTIC PLAYENG 217 

to carry on this educational work. For this reason 
it is to his advantage to direct his efforts toward 
pieces which he feels will be of musical educational 
advantage to his friends. In this he must use judg- 
ment and not overstep their intelligence too far. 
With the virtuoso it is somewhat different. He ex- 
pects, and even demands, from his audience a certain 
grade of musical taste, a certain degree of musical 
education. Otherwise he would work in vain. If 
the public would enjoy the greatest in music they must 
hear good music until these beauties become evident. 
It would be useless for the virtuoso to attempt a 
concert tour in the heart of Africa. The virtuoso 
is expected to give his best, and he should not be 
criticized by audiences that have not the mental 
capacity to appreciate his work. The virtuosos look 
to the students of the world to do their share in the 
education of the great musical public. Do not waste 
your time with music that is trite or ignoble. Life 
is too short to spend it wandering in the barren Saharas 
of musical trash. 

THE VITAL SPARK 

In all good pianoforte playing there is a vital spark 
that seems to make each interpretation of a master- 
piece a living thing. It exists only for the moment, 
and cannot be explained. For instance, two pianists 
of equal technical ability may play the same composi- 
tion. With one the playing is dull, lifeless and sapless, 
with the other there is something that is indescribably 



2l8 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

wonderful. His playing seems fairly to quiver with 
life. It commands interest and inspires the audience. 
What is this vital spark that brings life to mere notes? 
In one way it may be called the intense artistic interest 
of the player. It is that astonishing thing known as 
inspiration. 

When the composition was originally written the 
composer was unquestionably inspired; when the 
performer finds the same joy that the composer found 
at the moment the composition came into existence, 
then something new and different enters his playing. 
It seems to be stimulated and invigorated in a manner 
altogether marvelous. The audience realizes this 
instantly, and will even sometimes forgive technical 
imperfections if the performance is inspired. Rubin- 
stein was technically marvelous, and yet he admitted 
making mistakes. Nevertheless, for every possible 
mistake he may have made, he gave, in return, ideas 
and musical tone pictures that would have made up for 
a million mistakes. When Rubinstein was over- 
exact his playing lost something of its wonderful 
charm. I remember that upon one occasion he was 
playing Balakireff's Islamei at a concert. Something 
distracted his attention and he apparently forgot the 
composition entirely; but he kept on improvising in 
the style of the piece, and after about four minutes the 
remainder of the composition came back to him and he 
played it to the end correctly. This annoyed him 
greatly and he played the next number upon the pro- 
gram with the greatest exactness, but, strange to say, 



ESSENTIALS OF ARTISTIC PLAYING 2IQ 

it lost the wonderful charm of the interpretation of 
the piece in which his memory had failed him. Rubin- 
stein was really incomparable, even more so perhaps 
because he was full of human impulse and his playing 
very far removed from mechanical perfection. 

While, of course, the student must play the notes, 
and all of the notes, in the manner and in the time 
in which the composer intended that they should be 
played, his efforts should by no means stop with notes. 
Every individual note in a composition is important, 
but there is something quite as important as the notes, 
and that is the soul. After all, the vital spark is 
the soul. The soul is the source of that higher ex- 
pression in music which cannot be represented in 
dynamic marks. The soul feels the need for the 
crescendos and diminuendos intuitively. The mere 
matter of the duration of a pause upon a note depends 
upon its significance, and the soul of the artist dic- 
tates to him just how long such a pause should be held. 
If the student resorts to mechanical rules and depends 
upon them absolutely, his playing will be soulless. 

Fine playing requires much deep thought away 
from the keyboard. The student should not feel 
that when the notes have been pkyed his task is 
done. It is, in fact, only begun. He must make the 
piece a part of himself. Every note must awaken in 
him a kind of musical consciousness of his real artistic 
mission. 





\ 







\ ' 
\ 



A. REISENAUER 



ALFRED REISENAUER 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

AlfredReisenauerwasbornat Konigsberg, Germany, 
Nov. ist, 1863. He was a pupil of his mother, Louis 
Kohler, and Franz Liszt. His dbut as a pianist was 
made in Rome, in 1881, at the palace of Cardinal 
Hohenlohe. After a concert tour in Germany and a 
visit to England he studied Law for one year at the 
Leipsic University. Not finding this altogether to 
his liking he resumed his concert work and commenced 
a long series of tours which included all the nooks and 
corners of the world where one might find a musical 
public. He was an accomplished linguist, speaking 
many languages very fluently. His work as a com- 
poser was not significant but in certain branches of 
pianoforte playing he rose to exceptional heights. 
He died October 3ist, 1907. 



321 



XVII 

SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING 

ALFRED REISENAUER 

"I CAN never thani my mother enough for the 
splendid start she gave me in my early musical life. 
She was a wonderful woman and a veritable genius 
as a teacher. See, I have here today on my piano 
a copy of the Schumann Sonata in F sharp minor 
which she herself used and which she played with a 
feeling I have never heard equaled. There is one 
thing in particular for which I am everlastingly grate- 
ful to her. Before I was taught anything of notes or 
of the piano keyboard, she took me aside one day and 
explained in the simple and beautiful tongue which 
only a mother employs in talking to her child, the 
wonderful natural relationships of tones used in mak- 
ing music. Whether this was an inspiration, an 
intuition, or a carefully thought out plan for my 
benefit, I cannot tell, but my mother put into practice 
what I have since come to consider the most important 
and yet the most neglected step in the education of 
the child. The fault lies in the fact that most teachers 
at the start do not teach music, rather musical notation 
and the peculiarities of the instrument, 

Nothing could possibly be more stultifying to the 
musical instinct of the child. For instance, the plan 

generally pursued is to let the child grope over the 

222 



SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING 223 

white keys of the piano keyboard and play exercises 
in the scale of C, until he begins to feel that the whole 
musical world lies in the scale of C, with the scales of 
F and G as the frontiers. The keys of F sharp, B, D 
flat and others are looked upon as tremendously 
difficult and the child mind reasons with its own pecu- 
liar logic that these keys being so much less used, must, 
of course be less important. The black keys upon 
the keyboard are a 'terra incognita.' Consequently 
at the very start the child has a radically incorrect 
view of what music really is. 

"Before notation existed, before keyboards were 
invented, people sang, Before a child knows any- 
thing of notation or a keyboard, it sings. It is fol- 
lowing its natural, musical instinct. Notation and 
keyboards are simply symbols of music cages in 
which the beautiful bird is caught. They are not 
music any more than the alphabet is literature. 
Unfortunately, our system of musical symbols and 
the keyboard itself are very complex. For the young 
child it is as difficult as are Calculus and Algebra for 
his older brother. As a matter of fact, the keys of F 
sharp, B, and D flat major, etc,, are only difficult 
because fate has made them so. It would have served 
the musical purpose just as well if the pitch of the 
instruments employed had been adjusted so that what 
is now F sharp, would be the key of C major. That, 
however, would not have simplified matters and we 
have to receive our long established musical notation 
until we can exchange it for a better one, 



224 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

"At a very early age, I was taken, to Franz Liszt 
by my mother. Liszt immediately perceived my 
natural talent and strongly advised my mother to 
continue my musical work. At the same time he said 
'As a child I was exposed to criticism as a Wunder- 
kind (prodigy), through the ignorance of my parents, 
long before I was properly prepared to meet the in- 
evitable consequences of public appearance. This 
did incalculable damage to me. Let your child be 
spared such a fate. My own experience was disas- 
trous. Do not let your son appear in public until he is 
a mature artist/ 

"My first teacher, Louis Kohler, was an artist and a 
great artist, but he was an artist-teacher rather than 
an artist-pianist. Compared with many of his con- 
temporaries his playing suffered immensely, but he 
made an art of teaching as few other men have done. 
He did not play for his pupils to any extent, nor did 
he ask them to imitate him in any way. His playing 
was usually confined to general illustrations and sug- 
gestions. By these means the individuality of his 
pupils was preserved and permitted to develop, so 
that while the pupil always had an excellent idea of 
the authoritative traditions governing the interpreta- 
tion of a certain piece, there was nothing that sug- 
gested the stilted or wooden performance of the brain- 
less mimic. He taught his pupils to think. He was 
an indefatigable student and thinker himself. He 
had what many teachers would have considered pecu- 
liar ideas upon technic. 



SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING 225 

KOELER'S TECHNICAL SCHEME 
"While he invented many little means whereby 
technical difficulties could be more readily overcome 
than by the existing plan he could not be called in any 
way radical. He believed in carrying the technical 
side of a pupil's education up to a certain point along 
more or less conventional lines. When the pupil 
reached that point he found that he was upon a 
veritable height of mechanical supremacy. There- 
after Kohler depended upon the technical difficulties 
presented in the literature of the instrument to con- 
tinue the technical efficiency acquired. In other 
words, the acquisition of a technic was solely to enable 
the pupil to explore the world of music equipped in 
such a way that he was not to be overcome by any- 
thing. The everlasting continuance of technical 
exercises was looked upon by Kohler as a ridiculous 
waste of time and a great injury. 

"I also hold this opinion. Let us suppose that I 
were to sit at the piano for six or seven hours and do 
nothing but play conventional finger exercises. What 
happens to my soul, psychologically considered, 
during those hours spent upon exercises which no man 
or woman could possibly find anything other than an 
irritation? Do not the same exercises occur in thou- 
sands of pieces but in such connection that the mind 
is interested? Is it necessary for the advanced 
pianist to punish himself with a kind of mental and 

physical penance more, trying, perhaps, than the de- 
is 



226 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

vices of the medieval ascetics or the oriental priests 
of to-day? No, technic is the Juggernaut which has 
ground to pieces more musicians than one can imagine. 
It produces a stiff, wooden touch and has a tendency 
to induce the pianist to believe that the art of piano- 
forte playing depends upon the continuance of tech- 
nical exercises whereas the acquisition of technical 
ability should be regarded as the beginning and not 
the end. When pupils leave your schools you say 
that they are having a f Commencement. ' The 
acquisition of a technic is only the commencement, 
unfortunately too many consider it the end. This 
may perhaps be the reason why our conservatories 
turn out so many bright and proficient young people 
who in a few years are buried in oblivion. 

WITH LISZT 

"When I had reached a certain grade of advance- 
ment it was my great fortune to become associated 
with the immortal Franz Liszt. I consider Liszt the 
greatest man I have ever met. By this I mean that 
I have never met, in any other walk of life, a man 
with the mental grasp, splendid disposition and 
glorious genius. This may seem a somewhat extrava- 
gant statement. I have met many, many great men, 
rulers, jurists, authors, scientists, teachers, merchants 
and warriors, but never have I met a man in any posi- 
tion whom I have not thought would have proved the 
inferior of Franz Liszt, had Liszt chosen to follow 
the career of the man in question. Liszt's personality 



SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING 227 

can only be expressed by one word, 'colossal.' He had 
the most generous nature of any man I have ever met. 
He had aspirations to become a great composer, 
greater than his own measure of his work as a composer 
had revealed to him. The dire position of Wagner 
presented itself. He abandoned his own ambitions 
ambitions higher than those he ever held toward piano 
virtuosity abandoned them completely to champion 
the difficult cause of the great Wagner. What Liszt 
suffered to make this sacrifice, the world does not 
know. But no finer example of moral heroism can 
be imagined. His conversations with me upon the 
subject were so intimate that I do not care to reveal 
one word. 

LISZT'S PEDAGOGICAL METHODS 
His generosity and personal force in his work with 
the young artists he assisted are hard to describe. 
You ask me whether he had a certain method. I 
reply, he abhorred methods in the modern sense of the 
term. His work was eclectic in the highest sense. In 
one way he could not be considered a teacher at all. 
He charged no fees and had irregular and somewhat 
unsystematic classes. In another sense he was the 
greatest of teachers. Sit at the piano and I will in- 
dicate the general plan pursued by Liszt at a lesson. 
Reisenauer is a remarkable and witty mimic of 
people he desires to describe. The present writer sat 
at the piano and played at some length through several 
short compositions, eventually coming to the inevit- 



228 



GBEAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 



able "Chopin Valse, Op. 69, No. i, in A fiat major." 
In the meanwhile, Reisenauer had gone to another 
room and, after listening patiently, returned, imi- 
tating the walk, facial expression and the peculiar 
guttural snort characteristic of Liszt in his later years. 
Then followed a long " kindly sermon " upon the 
emotional possibilities of the composition. This was 
interrupted with snorts and went with kaleidoscopic 
rapidity from French to German and back again 
many, many times. Imitating Liszt he said, 

" First of all we must arrive at the very essence of 
the thing; the germ that Chopin chose to have grow 
and blossom in his soul. It is, roughly considered, this : 




Chopin's next thought was, no doubt: 







But with his unerring good taste and sense of 
symmetry he writes it so: 




Now consider the thing in studying it and while play- 
ing it from the composer's attitude. By this I mean 



SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING 229 

that during the mental process of conception, before 
the actual transference of the thought to paper, the 
thought itself is in a nebulous condition. The com- 
poser sees it in a thousand lights before he actually 
determines upon the exact form he desires to per- 
petuate. For instance, this theme might have gone 
through Chopin's mind much after this fashion: 




"The main idea being to reach the embryo of 
Chopin's thought and by artistic insight divine the 
connotation of that thought, as nearly as possible in 
the light of the treatment Chopin has given it. 

" It is not so much the performer's duty to play mere 
notes and dynamic marks, as it is for him to make an 
artistic estimate of the composer's intention and to 
feel that during the period of reproduction he simu- 
lates the natural psychological conditions which af- 
fected the composer during the actual process of 
composition, In this way the composition becomes 
a living entity a tangible resurrection of the soul of 
the great Chopin. Without such penetrative genius 
a pianist is no more than a mere machine and with it 
he may develop into an artist of the highest type." 



230 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

A UNIQUE ATTITUDE 

Reisenauer's attitude toward the piano is unique 
and interesting* Musicians are generally understood 
to have an affectionate regard for their instruments, 
almost paternal. Not so with Reisenauer. He even 
goes so far as to make this statement: "I have 
aways been drawn to the piano by a peculiar charm I 
have never been able to explain to myself. I feel that 
I must play, play, play, play, play. It has become a 
second nature to me. I have played so much and so 
long that the piano has become a part of me. Yet I 
am never free from the feeling that it is a constant 
battle with the instrument, and even with my techni- 
cal resources I am not able to express all the beauties 
I hear in the music. While music is my very life, I 
nevertheless hate the piano. I play because I can't 
help playing and because there is no other instrument 
which can come as near imitating the melodies and the 
harmonies of the music I feel People say wherever 
I go, 'Ah, he is a master/ What absurdity! I the 
master? Why, there is the master (pointing to the 
piano), I am only the slave." 

THE FUTURE OF PIANOFORTE Music 
An interesting question that frequently arises in 
musical circles relates to the future possibilities of 
the art of composition in its connection with the piano- 
forte. Not a few have some considerable apprehen- 
sion regarding the possible dearth of new melodic 



SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING 231 

material and the technical and artistic treatment 
of such material. "I do not think that there need be 
any fear of a lack of original melodic material or 
original methods of treating such material. The 
possibilities of the art of musical composition have by 
no means been exhausted. While I feel that in a 
certain sense, very difficult to illustrate with words, one 
great 'school' of composition for the pianoforte ended 
with Liszt and the other in Brahms, nevertheless I 
can but prophesy the arising of many new and wonder- 
ful schools in the future. I base my prophecy upon 
the premises of frequent similar conditions during the 
history of musical art. 

"Nevertheless, it is yet my ambition to give a 
lengthy series of recitals, with programs arranged to 
give a chronological aspect of all the great master- 
pieces in music, I hope to be enabled to do this 
before I retire. It is part of a plan to circle the world 
in a manner that has not yet been done." When 
asked whether these programs were to resemble 
Rubinstein's famous historical recitals in London, 
years ago, he replied: "They will be more extensive 
than the Rubinstein recitals. The times make such 
a series possible now, which Rubinstein would have 
hesitated to give." 

As to American composers, Reisenauer is so thor- 
oughly and enthusiastically won over by Mac- 
Dowell that he has not given the other composers 
sufficient attention to warrant a critical opinion. I 
found upon questioning that he had made a genuinely 



332 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

sincere effort to find new material in America, but he 
said that outside of MacDowell, he found nothing but 
indifferently good salon-music. With the works of 
several American composers he was, however, un- 
familiar. He has done little or nothing himself as a 
composer and declared that it was not his forte. 

AMERICAN MUSICAL TASTE 
"I find that American musical taste is In many 
ways astonishing. Many musicians who came to 
America prior to the time of Thomas and Dam- 
rosch returned to Europe with what were, no doubt, 
true stories of the musical conditions in America at 
that time. These stories were given wide circulation 
in Europe, and it is difficult for Europeans to under- 
stand the cultured condition of the American people 
at the present time. America can never thank Dr. 
Leopold Damrosch and Theodore Thomas enough for 
their unceasing labors. Thanks to the impetus that 
they gave the movement, it is now possible to play 
programs in almost any American city that are in no 
sense different from those one is expected to give in 
great European capitals. The status of musical edu- 
cation in the leading American cities is surprisingly 
high. Of course the commercial element necessarily 
affects it to a certain extent; but in many cases this 
is not as injurious as might be imagined. The future 
of music in America seems very roseate to me and I 
can look back to my American concert tours with 
great pleasure. 



SYSTEMATIC MUSICAL TRAINING 233 

CONCERT CONDITIONS IN AMERICA 
"One of the great difficulties, however, in concert 
touring in America is the matter of enormous dis- 
tances. I often think that American audiences rarely 
hear great pianists at their best. Considering the 
large amounts of money involved in a successful 
American tour and the business enterprise which 
must be extremely forceful to make such a tour 
possible, it is not to be wondered that enormous 
journeys must be made in ridiculously short time. 
No one can imagine what this means to even a man 
of my build." (Reisenauer is a wonderfully strong 
and powerful man.) "I have been obliged to play 
in one Western city one night and in an Eastern city 
the following night. Hundreds of miles lay between 
them, In the latter city I was obliged to go directly 
from the railroad depot to the stage of the concert 
hall, hungry, tired, travel worn and without practice 
opportunities. How can a man be at his best under 
such conditions? yet certain conditions make these 
things unavoidable in America, and the pianist must 
suffer occasional criticism for not playing uniformly 
well. In Europe such conditions do not exist owing 
to the closely populated districts. I am glad to have 
the opportunity to make this statement, as no doubt 
a very great many Americans fail to realize under 
what distressing conditions an artist is often obliged 
to play in America, " 



234 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OP PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XV 

ALFRED REISENAUER 

1. What should be the first step in the musical 
education of the child? 

2. Why was Kohler so successful as a teacher? 

3. Did Liszt follow a method in teaching or was 
his work eclectic? 

4. Give Liszt's conception of how Chopin de- 
veloped one of his Valses, 

5. Have the possibilities of the art of musical 
composition been exhausted? 

6. Are other great schools of pianoforte playing 
likely to arise? 

7. What was Reisenauer's opinion of the works of 
MacDowell? 

8. What may be said of musical taste in America 
when Reisenauer was touring this country. 

9. What may be said of the status of American 
musical education? 

10. What great difficulties do the virtuosos visiting 
America encounter? 



EMIL SAUER 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Emil Sauer was born in Hamburg, Germany, 
October 8, 1862. His first teacher was Ms mother, 
who was a fine musician, and who took exceptional 
pains with her talented son. From 1879 to ^Si he 
studied with Nicholas Rubinstein, brother of the 
famous Anton Rubinstein. Nicholas Rubinstein was 
declared by many to be a far abler teacher than his 
brother, who eclipsed him upon the concert platform. 
From 1884 to 1885 Sauer studied with Franz Liszt. 
In his autobiographical work, "My Life," Sauer 
relates that Liszt at that time had reached an age 
when much of his reputed brilliance had disappeared, 
and the playing of the great Master of Weimar did 
not startle Sauer as it did some others. However, 
Liszt took a great personal interest in Sauer and pro- 
phesied a great future for him. 

In 1882 Sauer made his first tour as a virtuoso, and 
met with such favor that numerous tours of the 
music-loving countries ensued. The critics praised 
his playing particularly for his great clarity, sanity, 
symmetrical appreciation of form, and unaffected 
fervor. For a time Sauer was at the head of the 
Meisterschule of Piano-playing, connected with the 
Imperial Conservatory in Vienna. 

(The following conference was conducted in 
German and English,) 



335 



xvm 

THE TRAINING OF THE VIRTUOSO 

EMIL SAUER 

ONE of the most inestimable advantages I have 
ever had was my good fortune in having a musical 
mother. It is to her that I owe my whole career 
as an artist. If it had not been for her loving care 
and her patient persistence I might have been en- 
gaged in some entirely different pursuit. As a child 
I was very indifferent to music. I abhorred practice, 
and, in fact, showed no signs of pronounced talent 
until my twelfth year. But she kept faithfully 
pegging away at me and insisted that because my 
grandfather had been a noted artist and because 
she was devoted to music it must be in my blood. 

My mother was a pupil of Deppe, of whom Miss 
Amy Fay has written in her book " Music Study in 
Germany." Deppe was a remarkable pedagogue 
and had excellent ideas upon the foundation of a 
rational system of touch. He sought the most 
natural position of the hand and always aimed to 
work along the line of least resistance. My mother 
instilled Deppe's ideas into me together with a very 
comprehensive training in the standard etudes and 
classics within my youthful technical grasp. For 
those years I could not have had a better teacher. 
Lucky is the child, who like Gounod, Reisenauer and 



236 



**. 



EMIL SAUZR 



THE TRAINING OP THE VIRTUOSO 237 

others, has had the invaluable instruction that a 
patient, self-sacrificing mother can give. The mother 
is the most unselfish of all teachers, and is painstaking 
to a fault. 

SLOW SYSTEMATIC PRACTICE 
She insisted upon slow systematic regular prac- 
tice. She knew the importance of regularity, and 
one of the first things I ever learned was that if 
I missed one or two days' practice, I could not hope 
to make it up by practicing overtime on the following 
days. Practice days missed or skipped are gone for- 
ever. One must make a fresh start and the loss is 
sometimes not recovered for several days. 

I was also made to realize the necessity of fresh- 
ness at the practice period. The pupil who wants 
to make his practice lead to results must feel well 
while practicing. Practicing while tired, either men- 
tally or physically, is wasted practice. 

Pupils must learn to concentrate, and if they have 
not lie ability to do this naturally they should have 
a master who will teach them how. It is not easy 
to fix the mind upon one thing and at the same time 
drive every other thought away. With some young 
pupils this takes much practice. Some never ac- 
quire it it is not in them. Concentration is the 
vertebrae of musical success. The student who can- 
not concentrate had better abandon musical study. 
In fact, the young person who cannot concentrate 
is not likely to be a conspicuous success in any line 



238 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

of activity. The study of music cultivates the 
pupil's powers of concentration perhaps more than 
any other study. The notes to be played must be 
recognized instantaneously and correctly performed. 
In music the mind has no time to wander. This is 
one of the reasons why music is so valuable even 
for those who do not ever contemplate a professional 
career. 

One hour of concentrated practice with the mind 
fresh and the body rested is better than four hours 
of dissipated practice with the mind stale and the 
body tired. With a fatigued intellect the fingers 
simply dawdle over the keys and nothing is accomp- 
lished, I find in my own daily practice that it is 
best for me to practice two hours in the morning 
and then two hours later in the day. When I am 
finished with two hours of hard study I am exhausted 
from close concentration, I have also noted that any 
time over this period is wasted. I am too fatigued 
for the practice to be of any benefit to me. 

THE NECESSITY FOR A GOOD GENERAL EDUCATION 
Parents make a great mistake in not insuring the 
general education of the child who is destined to 
become a concert performer. I can imagine nothing 
more stultifying or more likely to result in artistic 
disaster than the course that some parents take 
in neglecting the child's school work with an idea 
that if he is to become a professional musician he 
need only devote himself to music. This one-sided 



TEE TRAINING OP THE VIRTUOSO 239 

cultivation should be reserved for idiots who can 
do nothing else. The child-wonder is often the victim 

of some mental disturbance, 

j. 

I remember once seeing a remarkable child mathe- 
matician in Hungary. He was only twelve years of 
age and yet the most complicated mathematical 
problems were solved in a few seconds without re- 
course to paper. The child had water on the brain 
and lived but a few years. His usefulness to the world 
of mathematics was limited solely to show purposes. 
It is precisely the same with the so-called musical 
precocities. They are rarely successful in after life, 
and unless trained by some very wise and careful 
teacher, they soon become objects for pity* 

The child who is designed to become a concert 
pianist should have the broadest possible culture. 
He must live in the world of art and letters and 
become a naturalized citizen. The wider the range 
of his information, experience and sympathies, the 
larger will be the audience he will reach when he 
comes to talk to them from the concert platform. 
It is the same as with a public speaker. No one 
wants to hear a speaker who has led a narrow, crabbed 
intellectual existence, but the man who has seen and 
known the world, who has become acquainted with 
the great masterpieces of art and the wonderful 
achievements of science, has little difficulty in secur- 
ing an audience providing he has mastered the means 
of expressing his ideas. 



240 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

CLEAN PLAYING vs. SLOVENLY PLAYING 
In the matter of technical preparation there is, 
perhaps, too little attention being given to-day to 
the necessity for clean playing. Of course, each 
individual requires a different treatment. The pupil 
who has a tendency to play with stiffness and rigidity 
may be given studies which will develop a more fluent 
style. For these pupils' studies, like those of Heller, 
are desirable in the cases of students with only moder- 
ate technical ability, while the splendid "etudes" 
of Chopin are excellent remedies for advanced pupils 
with tendencies toward hard, rigid playing. The 
difficulty one ordinarily meets, however, is ragged, 
slovenly playing rather than stiff, rigid playing. To 
remedy this slovenliness, there is nothing like the 
well-known works of Czerny, Cramer or dementi. 
I have frequently told pupils in my " Meisterschule" 
in Vienna, before I abandoned teaching for my work 
as a concert pianist, that they must learn to draw 
before they learn to paint. They will persist in try- 
ing to apply colors before they learn the art of making 
correct designs. This leads to dismal failure in al- 
most every case. Technic first then interpretation. 
The great concert-going public has no use for a player 
with a dirty, slovenly technic no matter how much he 
strives to make morbidly sentimental interpretations 
that are expected to reach the lovers of sensation. 
For such players a conscientious and exacting study 
of Czerny, Cramer, dementi and others of similar 



THE TRAINING OF THE VIRTUOSO 241 

design is good musical soap and water. It washes 
them into respectability and technical decency. 
The pianist with a bungling, slovenly technic, who 
at the same time attempts to perform the great 
masterpieces, reminds me of those persons who at- 
tempt to disguise the necessity for soap and water 
with nauseating perfume* 

HEALTH A VITAL FACTOR 

Few people realize what a vital factor health is 
to the concert pianist. The student should never 
fail to think of this. Many young Americans who go 
abroad to study break down upon the very vehicle 
upon which they must depend in their ride to success 
through the indiscretions of overwork or wrong 
living. The concert pianist really lives a life of pri- 
vation. I always make it a point to restrict myself 
to certain hygienic rules on the day before a concert, 
I have a certain diet and a certain amount of exercise 
and sleep, without which I cannot play successfully. 

In America one is overcome with the kindness of 
well-meaning people who insist upon late suppers, 
receptions, etc. It is hard to refuse kindness of this 
description, but I have always felt that my debt to my 
audiences was a matter of prime importance, and while 
on tour I refrain from social pleasures of all kinds. 
My mind and my body must be right or failure will 
surely result. 

I have often had people say to me after the per- 
formance of some particularly brilliant number "Ah! 



242 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

You must have taken a bottle of champagne to give 
a performance like that." Nothing could be further 
from the truth. A half a bottle of beer would ruin 
a recital for me* The habit of taking alcoholic 
drinks with the idea that they lead to a more fiery 
performance is a dangerous custom that has been 
the ruin of more than one pianist. The performer 
who would be at his best must live a very careful, 
almost abstemious life. Any unnatural excess is 
sure to mar his playing and lead to his downfall with 
the public. I have seen this done over and over again, 
and have watched alcohol tear down in a few years 
what had taken decades of hard practice and earnest 
study to build up. 

JUDICIOUS USE or TECHNICAL EXERCISES 
The field of music is so enormous that I have 
often thought that the teacher should be very care- 
ful not to overdo the matter of giving technical ex- 
ercises. Technical exercises are, at best, short cuts. 
They are necessary for the student. He should have 
a variety of them, and not be kept incessantly pound- 
ing away at one or two exercises. As Nicholas 
Rubinstein once said to me, "Scales should never be 
dry. If you are not interested in them work with 
them until you become interested in them. " They 
should be played with accents and in different rhythms. 
If they are given in the shapeless manner in which 
some teachers obliged their unfortunate pupils to 
practice them they are worthless. I do not believe 



THE TRAINING OF THE VIRTUOSO 243 

in working out technical exercises at a table or with a 
dumb piano. The brain must always work with the 
fingers, and without the sound of the piano the ima.giTi.a- 
tion must be enormously stretched to get anything 
more than the most senseless, toneless, soulless touch. 

Technic with many is unmistakably a gift. I say 
this after having given the matter much careful 
thought. It is like the gift of speech. Some people 
are fluent talkers, precisely as some people can do 
more in two hours' technical work at the keyboard 
than others could accomplish with four. Of course, 
much can be accomplished with persistent practice, 
and a latent gift may be awakened, but it is certainly 
not given to all to become able technicalists. Again 
some become very proficient from the technical stand- 
point, but are barren, soulless, uninspired and vapid 
when it comes to the artistic and musicianly inter- 
pretation of a piece. 

There comes a time to every advanced pianist 
when such exercises as the scales, arpeggios, the studies 
of Czerny and Cramer are unnecessary. I have not 
practiced them for some years, but pray do not 
t.b'nk that I attempt to go without exercises. These 
exercises I make by selecting difficult parts of famous 
pieces and practicing them over and over. I find 
the concertos of Hummel particularly valuable in 
this connection, and there are parts of some of the 
Beethoven concertos that make splendid musical 
exercises that I can practice without the fatal dimi- 
nution of interest which makes a technical exercise 
valueless* 



244 GSEAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

STUDY ABROAD 

In the matter of foreign study I think that I may 
speak without bias, as I am engaged in teaching and 
am not likely to resume for some years, I am absolutely 
convinced that there are many teachers in America 
who are as good as the best in Europe. Neverthe- 
less, I would advise the young American to secure 
the best instruction possible in his native land, and 
then to go abroad for a further course. It will serve 
to broaden him in many ways. 

I believe in patriotism, and I admire the man who 
sticks to his fatherland. But, in art there is no such 
thing as patriotism. As the conservatory of Paris 
provides, through the "Prix de Rome," for a three 
years' residence in Italy and other countries for the 
most promising pupil, so the young American music 
students should avail themselves of the advantages of 
Old World civilization, art, and music. There is 
much to be learned from the hustle and vigorous 
wholesome growth of your own country that would 
be of decided advantage to the German students who 
could afford a term of residence here. It is narrowing 
to think that one should avoid the Old World art 
centers from the standpoint of American patriotism. 

VERSATILITY 

Few people recognize the multifarious require- 
ments of the concert pianist. He must adjust him- 
self to all sorts of halls, pianos and living conditions. 



THE TRAINING OP THE VIRTUOSO 245 

The difference between one piano and another is 
often very remarkable. It sometimes obliges the 
artist to readjust his technical methods very materi- 
ally. Again, the difference in halls is noteworthy. 
In a great hall, like the Albert Hall of London, one 
can only strive for very broad effects. It is not pos- 
sible for one to attempt the delicate shadings which 
the smaller halls demand. Much is lost in the great 
hall, and it is often unjust to determine the pianist's 
ability by his exclusively bravura performances in 
very large auditoriums. 

CULTIVATING FINGER STRENGTH 
The concert pianist must have great endurance. 
His fiuagers must be as strong as steel, and yet they 
must be as elastic and as supple as willow wands. 
I have always had great faith in the "Kleine Pischna" 
and the "Pischna Exercises" in cultivating strength. 
These exercises are now world famous, and it would 
be hard for me to imagine anything better for this 
particular purpose. They are somewhat voluminous, 
but necessarily so. One conspicuous difficulty with 
which teachers have to contend is that pupils attempt 
pieces requiring great digital strength without ever 
having gone through such a course as I advocate 
above. The result is that they have all sorts of troub- 
les with their hands through strain. Some of these 
troubles are irremediable, others are curable, but cause 
annoying delays. I have never had anything of this 
sort and attribute my immunity from weeping sinews, 



246 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

etc., to correct hand positions, a loose wrist and slow 
systematic work in my youth. 

VELOCITY 

Velocity depends more upon natural elasticity than 
strength. Some people seem to be born with the 
ability to play rapidly. It is always a matter of the 
fingers, but is more a matter of the brain. Some 
people have the ability to think very rapidly, and 
when these people have good supple hands they seem 
to be able to play rapidly with comparatively little 
study. When you fail to get velocity at first, do not 
hesitate to lay the piece aside for several weeks, 
months or years. Then you will doubtless find that 
the matter of velocity will not trouble you. Too 
much study upon a piece that fails for the time being 
to respond to earnest effort is often a bad thing, 
Be a little patient. It will all come out right in the 
end. If you fuss and fume for immediate results 
you may be sadly disappointed. 

TALENT 

Talent is great and immutable. Take the case of 
Liszt, for instance. I recently heard from a reliable 
source the following interesting story: One day 
Liszt was called away from his class at Wiemar by 
an invitation to visit the Grand Duke. Von Bttlow, 
then a mature artist, was present, and he was asked 
by Liszt to teach the class for the day. Liszt left 
the room, and a young student was asked to play 



THE TRAINING OF THE VIRTUOSO 247 

one of Liszt's own compositions. Von Billow did 
not Eke the youth's interpretation, as he had been 
accustomed to play the same work on tour in a very 
different manner. Consequently he abused the stu- 
dent roundly, and then sat at the keyboard and was 
playing to his great satisfaction when the tottering 
old master broke in the room and with equal severity 
reprimanded Von Billow, and sat down at the key- 
boaid and gave an interpretation that was infinitely 
superior to that of Von Billow. It was simply a case 
of superiority of talent that enabled the aged and 
somewhat infirm Liszt to excel his younger contem- 
porary. 

BE NATURAL 

In closing, let me enjoin all young American music 
students to strive for naturalness. Avoid ostenta- 
tious movements in your playing. Let your playing 
be as quiet as possible. The wrist should be loose. 
The hands, to my mind, should be neither high nor 
low, but should be in line with the forearm. One 
should continually strive for quietness. Nothing 
should be forced. Ease in playing is always admir- 
able, and comes in time to all talented students who 
seek it. The Deppe method of hand position, while 
pedantic and unnecessarily long, is interesting and 
instructive. 

Personally, I advocate the use of the Etudes of 
Chopin, Moscheles and the Etudes Transcendante to 
all advanced pupils. I have used them with pupils 



248 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

with invariable success. I have also a series of thir- 
teen Etudes of my own that I have made for the 
express purpose of affording pupils material for 
work which is not adequately covered in the usual 
course. 

Young Americans have a great future before them. 
The pupils I have had have invariably been ones 
who progress with astonishing rapidity. They show 
keenness and good taste, and are willing to work 
faithfully and conscientiously, and that, after all, 
is the true road to success. 

TALENT COUNTS 

If you think that talent does not count you are 
very greatly mistaken. We not infrequently see 
men who have been engaged in one occupation with 
only very moderate success suddenly leap into fame 
in an entirely different line. Men who have struggled 
to be great artists or illustrators like du Maurier 
astonish the world with a previously concealed liter- 
ary ability. It is foolish not to recognize the part 
that talent must play in the careers of artists. Some- 
times hard work and patient persistence will stimu- 
late the mind and soul, and reveal talents that were 
never supposed to exist, but if the talent does not 
exist it is as hopeless to hunt for it as it is to seek for 
diamonds in a bowl of porridge. 

Talented people seem to be born with the knack 
or ability to do certain things twice as well and twice 
as quickly as other people can do the same things. 



THE TRAINING OF THE VIRTUOSO 249 

I well remember that when all Europe was wild 
over the "Diabolo" craze my little girl commenced to 
play with the sticks and the little spool. It looked 
interesting and I thought that I would try it a few 
times and then show her how to do it. The more I 
tried the more exasperated I became. I simply 
could not make it go, and before I knew it I had wasted 
a whole morning upon it. My little daughter took 
it up and in a few minutes' practice she was able to do 
it as well as an expert. It is precisely the same at the 
keyboard. What takes some pupils hours to accom- 
plish others can do in a few seconds with apparently 
less effort. The age of the pupil seems to have little 
to do with musical comprehension. What does 
count is talent, that peculiar qualification which seems 
to lead the student to see through complex problems 
as if he had been solving them through different 
generations for centuries. 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XV 

EMTL SAUER 

1. Can missed practice periods ever be made up? 

2. Does piano study cultivate concentration? 

3. What is a good arrangement of practice hours? 

4. What are some remedies for slovenly playing? 

5. How is one's playing affected by health? 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

6. Are stimulants good or bad? 

7. Is listening important in pianoforte playing? 

8. How may finger strength be cultivated? 

9. Upon what does velocity depend? 

10. What part does talent play in the artist's suc- 
cess? 



' 



y 




v, 



X. SCHAR\VENKA 



XAVER SCHARWENKA 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Franz Xaver Scharwenka was born at Samter, 
Posen (poUsh Prussia), January 6, 1850, He was a 
pupil of Kulkk and Wiirst at Kullak's Academy in 
Berlin, from which he graduated in 1868. Shortly 
thereafter he was appointed a teacher in the same 
institution. The next year he made his d6but as a 
virtuoso at the Singakademie. For many years 
thereafter he gave regular concerts in Berlin in con- 
nection with Sauret and Griinfield. In 1874 he 
gave up bis position in the famous Berlin music 
school and commenced the career of the touring 
virtuoso. In 1880 he founded the Scharwenka 
Conservatory in Berlin together with his brother 
Philipp Scharwenka, an able composer. 

In 1891 Scharwenka came to New York to establish 
a conservatory there. This, however, was closed in 
1898 when Scharwenka returned to Berlin as Direc- 
tor of the Klindworth-Scharwenka conservatory. 
He has been the recipient of numerous honors from the 
governments of Austria and Germany. He received 
the title of "Professor" from the King of Prussia 
(Emperor Wilhehn II) and that of Court Pianist 
from the emperor of Austria. 

His many concert tours in America and in Europe 
have established his fame as a pianist of great intel- 
lectual strength as well as strong poetical force. 
His compositions, including his four Concertos, have 
been widely played, and his opera, Mataswntha, has 
received important productions, One of his earlier 
works, the Polish Dance, has been enormously popular 
for a quarter of a century. 

(The following conference was conducted in Ger- 
man and English.) 

251 



XIX 
ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 

XAVER SCHARWENKA 

IT is somewhat of a question whether any time 
spent in music study is actually wasted, since all 
intellectual activity is necessarily accompanied by an 
intellectual advance. However, it soon becomes ap- 
parent to the young teacher that results can be 
achieved with a great economy of time if the right 
methods are used. By the use of the words "right 
methods" I do not mean to infer that only one right 
method exists. The right method for one pupil might 
be quite different from that which would bring about 
the best results with another pupil. In these days 
far more elasticity of methods exists than was generally 
sanctioned in the past, and the greatness of the teacher 
consists very largely of his ability to invent, adapt, 
and adjust his pedagogical means to the special 
requirements of his pupil Thus it happens that the 
teacher, by selecting only those exercises, etudes and 
teaching pieces demanded by the obvious needs of 
the pupil, and by eliminating unnecessary material, 
a much more rapid rate of advancement may be 
obtained. One pupil, for instance, might lack those 
qualities of velocity and dexterity which many of the 
etudes of Czerny develop in such an admirable manner, 
while another pupil might be deficient in the singing 

252 



ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 253 

tone, which is almost invariably improved by the 

study of certain Chopin etudes. 

TIME LOST IN EARLY STUDY 
Although my educational work for many years has 
been almost exclusively limited to pupils preparing 
for careers as teachers and as concert pianists, I 
nevertheless have naturally taken a great interest 
in those broad and significant problems which un- 
derlie the elementary training of the young music 
student, I have written quite extensively upon the 
subject, and my ideas have been quite definitely 
expressed in my book, Methodik des Klavierspiels: 
Systematische Darstettung der technischen und cesthet- 
ischen Erfordernisse fur einen rationelkn Lehrgang. 
I have also come in close contact with this branch of 
musical work in the Klindworth-Scharwenka Con- 
servatory in Berlin. 

My observations have led to the firm conviction 
that much of the time lost in music study could be 
saved if the elementary training of the pupil were 
made more comprehensive and more secure. It is 
by no means an economy of time to hurry over the 
foundation work of the pupil. It is also by no means 
an economy of money to place the beginner in the 
hands of a second-rate teacher. There is just as 
much need for the specialist to train the pupil at 
the start as there is for the head of the "meister- 
schule" to guide the budding virtuoso. How can 
we expect the pupil to make rapid progress if the 



254 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

start is not right? One might as well expect a 
broken-down automobile to win a race. The equip- 
ment at the beginning must be of the kind which will 
carry the pupil through his entire career with success. 
If any omissions occur, they must be made up later 
on, and the difficulty in repairing this neglect is twice 
as great as it would have been had the student received 
the proper instruction at the start. 

EAR-TRAINING 

The training of the ear is of great importance, and 
if teachers would only make sure that their pupils 
studied music with their sense of hearing as well as 
with their fingers, much time would be saved in 
later work. Young pupils should be taught to 
listen by permitting them to hear good music, which 
is at the same time sufficiently simple to insure 
comprehension. Early musical education is alto- 
gether too one-sided. The child is taken to the 
piano and a peculiar set of hieroglyphics known as 
notation is displayed to him. He is given a few 
weeks to comprehend that these signs refer to certain 
keys on the keyboard. He commences to push down 
these keys faithfully and patiently and his musical 
education is thus launched in what many consider 
the approved manner. Nothing is said about the 
meaning of the piece, its rhythm, its harmonies, its 
aesthetic beauties. Nothing is told of the composer, 
or of the period in which the piece was written. It 
would be just about as sensible to teach a pupil 



ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 255 

to repeat the sounds of the Chinese language by 
reading the Chinese word-signs, but without com- 
prehending the meaning of the sounds and signs. 
Is it any wonder that beginners lose interest in their 
work, and refuse to practise except when compelled 
to do so? 

I am most emphatically in favor of a more rational, 
a more broad, and a more thorough training of the 
beginner. Time taken from that ordinarily given to 
the senseless, brainless working up and down of 
the fingers at the keyboard, and devoted to those 
studies such as harmony, musical history, form, and 
in fact, any study which will tend to widen the pupil's 
knowledge and increase his interest, will save much 
time in later work, 

WASTE IN TECHNICAL STUDY 
Geometrically speaking, the shortest distance be- 
tween two points is a straight line. Teachers should 
make every possible effort to find the straight line 
of technic which will carry the pupil from his first 
steps to technical proficiency without wandering 
about through endless lanes and avenues which lead 
to no particular end. I suppose that all American 
teachers hear the same complaint that is heard by 
all European teachers when any attempt is made to 
insist upon thorough practice and adequate study 
from the dikttante. As soon as the teacher demands 
certain indispensable technical studies, certain nec- 
essary investigations of the harmonic, aesthetic or 



556 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

historical problems, which contribute so much to 
the excellence of pianistic interpretations, he hears 
the following complaint: "I don't want to be a com- 
poser" or "I don't want to be a virtuoso I only 
want to play just a little for my own amusement." 
The teacher knows and appreciates the pupil's attitude 
exactly, and while he realizes that his reasoning is 
altogether fatuous, it seems well-nigh impossible to 
explain to the amateur that unless he does his work 
right he will get very little real pleasure or amusement 
out of it. 

The whole sum and substance of the matter is that 
a certain amount of technical, theoretical and his- 
torical knowledge must be acquired to make the 
musician, before we can make a player. There is 
the distinction. Teachers should never fail to re- 
member that their first consideration should be to make 
a musician. All unmusical playing is insufferable. 
No amount of technical study will make a musician, 
and all technical study which simply aims to make the 
fingers go faster, or play complicated rhythms, is 
wasted unless there is the foundation and culture 
of the real musician behind it. 

To the sincere student every piece presents tech- 
nical problems peculiar to itself. The main objec- 
tion to all technical study is that unless the pupil 
is vitally interested the work becomes monotonous. 
The student should constantly strive to avoid mo- 
notony in practicing exercises. As soon as the exer- 
cises become dull and uninteresting their value im- 



ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 257 

mediately depreciates. The only way to avoid this 
is to seek variety. As I have said in my Methodik 
des Klaverspiels: "The musical and tonal monotony 
of technical exercises may be lessened in a measure 
by progressive modulations, by various rhythmical 
alterations, and further through frequent changes 
in contrary motion." Great stress should be laid 
upon practice in contrary motion. The reason for 
this is obvious to all students of harmony. When 
playing in contrary motion all unevenness, all breaks 
in precision and all unbalanced conditions of touch 
become much more evident to the ear than if the same 
exercises were played in parallel motion. Another 
important reason for the helpfulness of playing in 
contrary motion is not to be undervalued. It is 
that a kind of physical ' sympathy' is developed be- 
tween the fingers and the nerves which operate them 
in the corresponding hands. For instance, it is much 
easier to play with the fifth finger of one hand and 
the fifth finger of the other hand than it is to play 
with the third finger of one hand and the fifth finger 
of another." 

WASTE IN UNIMPORTANT SUBJECTS 
There is a general impression among teachers to- 
day that much time might be saved by a more care- 
ful selection of studies, and by a better adaptation 
of the studies to particular pupils. For instance, 
Carl Czerny wrote over one thousand opus numbers. 
He wrote some of the most valuable studies ever 

17 



258 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

written, but no one would think of demanding a 
pupil to play all of the Czerny studies, any more than 
the student should be compelled to play everything 
that Loeschhorn, Cramer and dementi ever wrote. 
Studies must be selected with great care and adapted 
to particular cases, and if the young teacher feels 
himself incapable of doing this, he should either use 
selections or collections of studies edited by able 
authorities or he should place himself under the 
advice of some mature and experienced teacher until 
the right experience has been obtained. It would 
not be a bad plan to demand that all young teachers 
be apprenticed to an older teacher until the right 
amount of experience has been obtained* The com- 
pletion of a course in music does not imply that the 
student is able to teach. Teaching and the matter 
of musical proficiency are two very different things, 
Many conservatories now conduct classes for teachers, 
which are excellent in their way. In the olden days 
a mechanic had to work side by side with his master 
before he was considered proficient to do his work by 
himself. How much more important is it that our 
educators should be competently trained. They do 
not have to deal with machinery, but they do have to 
deal with the most wonderful of all machines the 
human brain, 

Some studies in use by teachers are undeserving 
of their popularity, according to my way of thinking. 
Some studies are altogether trivial and quite dispen- 
sable. I have never held any particular fondness for 



ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 259 

Heller for instance. His studies are tuneful, but they 
seem to me, in many cases, weak imitations of the 
style of some masters such as Schumann, Mendelssohn, 
etc., who may be studied with more profit. I believe 
that the studies of Loeschhorn possess great pedagogi- 
cal value. Loeschhorn was a born teacher: he knew 
how to collect and present technical difficulties in a 
manner designed to be of real assistance to the student. 
The studies of Kullak are also extremely fine. 

This is a subject which is far more significant 
than it may at first appear. Whatever the student 
may choose to study after he leaves the teacher, his 
work while under the teacher's direction should be 
focused upon just those pieces which will be of most 
value to him. The teacher should see that the course 
he prescribes is unified. There should be no waste 
material. Some teachers are inclined to teach pieces 
of a worthless order to gain the fickle interest of some 
pupils. They feel that it is better to teach an oper- 
atic arrangement, no matter how superficial, and re- 
tain the interest of the pupil, than to insist upon what 
they know is really best for the pupil, and run the 
risk of having the pupil go to ( another teacher less con- 
scientious about making compromises of this sort. 
When the teacher has come to a position where he is 
obliged to permit the pupil to select his own pieces 
or dictate the kind of pieces he is to be taught in order 
to retain his interest, the teacher will find that he has 
very little influence over the pupil. Pupils who insist 
upon mapping out their own careers are always stumb- 



260 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ling-blocks. It is far better to make it very clear to the 
pupil in the first place that interference of this kind 
is never desirable, and that unless the pupil has 
implicit confidence in the teacher's judgment it is 
better to discontinue. 

BRAIN TECHNIC VERSUS FINGER TECHNICS 
Few pupils realize that hours and hours are wasted 
at the piano keyboard doing those things which we 
are already able to do, and in the quest of something 
which we already possess, When we come to think 
of it, every one is born with a kind of finger dexterity. 
Any one can move the fingers up and down with great 
rapidity; no study of the pianoforte keyboard is 
necessary to do this. The savage in the African 
wilds is gifted with that kind of dexterity, although 
he may never have seen a pianoforte. Then why 
spend hours in practicing at the keyboard with the 
view of doing something we can already do? It 
may come as a surprise to many when I make the 
statement that they already possess a kind of dexter- 
ity and velocity which they may not suspect. One 
does not have to work for years to make the fingers go 
up and down quickly. It is also a fact that a few 
lessons under a really good teacher and a few tickets 
for high-class piano recitals will often give the feeling 
and "knack" of producing a good touch, for which 
many strive in vain for years at the keyboard. 

No, the technic which takes time is the technic 
of the brain, which directs the fingers to the right 



ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 261 

place at the right time. This may be made the 
greatest source of musical economy. If you want 
to save time in your music study see that you compre- 
hend your musical problems thoroughly. You must 
see it right in your mind, you must hear it right, you 
must feel it right. Before you place your fingers on 
the keyboard you should have formed your ideal 
mental conception of the proper rhythm, the proper 
tonal quality, the aesthetic values and the harmonic 
content. These things can only be perfectly compre- 
hended after study. They do not come from strum- 
ming at the keyboard. This, after all, is the greatest 
possible means for saving time in music study. 

A great deal might be said upon the subject of 
the teacher's part in saving time. The good teacher 
is a keen critic. His experience and his innate ability 
enable him to diagnose faults just as a trained medical 
specialist can determine the cause of a disease with 
accuracy and rapidity. Much depends upon the diag- 
nosis. It is no saving to go to a doctor who diagnoses 
your case as one of rheumatism and treats you for 
rheumatic pains, whereas you are really suffering 
from neurasthenia. In a similar manner, an unskilled 
and incompetent teacher may waste much treasured 
time in treating you for technical and musical deficien- 
cies entirely different from those which you really 
suffer. Great care should be taken in selecting a 
teacher for with the wrong teacher not only time is 
wasted, but talent, energy, and sometimes that jewel 
in the crown of success "ambition." 



262 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

A CASE IN POINT 

An illustration of one means of wasting time is 
well indicated in the case of some pedagogs who 
hold to old ideas in piano-playing simply because 
they are old. I believe in conservatism, but at the 
same time I am opposed to conservatism which 
excludes all progressiveness. The world is con- 
tinually advancing, and we are continually finding 
out new things as well as determining which of the 
older methods will prove the best in the long run. 
All musical Europe has been upset during the last 
quarter of the century over the vital subject of 
whether the pressure touch is better than the angular 
blow touch* There was a time in the past when an 
apparent effort was made to mate everything per- 
taining to pianoforte technic as stiff and inelastic as 
possible. The fingers were trained to hop up and down 
like little hammers the arm was held stiff and hard 
at the side. In fact, it was not uncommon for some 
teachers to put a book under the armpit and insist 
upon their pupils holding it there by pressing against 
the body during the practice period. 

H. Ehrlich, who in his day was a widely recognized 
authority, wrote a pamphlet to accompany his edition 
of the Tausig technical studies in which this system 
is very dearly outlined. He asserts that Tausig 
insisted upon it. To-day we witness a great revolution, 
The arms are held freely and rigidity of all kind is 
avoided. It was found that the entire system of 



ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 263 

touch was under a more delicate and sensitive control 
when the pressure touch was employed than when the 
mechanical "hitting" touch was used. It was also 
found that much of the time spent in developing the 
hitting touch along mechanical lines was wasted, since 
superior results could be achieved in a shorter time 
by means of pressing and "kneading" the keys, 
rather than delivering blows to them. The pressure 
touch seems to me very much freer and I am em- 
phatically in favor of it. The older method pro- 
duced cramped unmusical playing and the pupil was 
so restricted that he reminded one for all the world 
of the new-fangled skirts ("hobble-skirts") which 
seem to give our ladies of fashion so much difficulty 
just now. 

The American pupils who have come to Germany 
to study with me have been for the most part ex- 
ceedingly well trained. In America there are in- 
numerable excellent teachers. The American pupil 
is almost always very industrious. His chief point 
of vantage is his ability to concentrate* He does 
not dissipate his time or thought. In some instances 
he can only remain in Europe for two years some- 
times less. He quite naturally feels that a great deal 
must be done in those two years, and consequently 
he works at white heat. This is not a disadvantage, 
for his mental powers are intensified and he is faithful 
to his labor, 

The young women of America are for the most part 
very self-reliant. This is also very much to their 



264 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

advantage. As a rule, they know how to take care 
of themselves, and yet they have the courage to 
venture and ask questions when questions should be 
asked. My residence in America has brought me 
many good friends, and it is a pleasure to note the 
great advance made in every way since my last visit 
here. I am particularly anxious to have some of my 
later compositions become better known in America, 
as I have great faith in the musical future of the 
country. I wish that they might become familiar 
with such works as my Fourth Concerto. I should 
deeply regret to think that Americans would judge 
my work as a composer by my "Polish Dance" and 
some other lighter compositions which are obviously 
inferior to my other works. 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XVH 
XAVER SCHARWENKA 

1. Is any time spent in music study really wasted? 

2. How may the pupil's elementary work be made 
more secure? 

3. State the importance of ear-training. 

4. What additional musical studies should be 
included in the work of the pupil? 

5. What should be the teacher's first considera- 
tion? 



ECONOMY IN MUSIC STUDY 265 

6. Why must monotony be avoided in technical 
study? 

7. State the value of practice in contrary motion. 

8. May time be wasted with unprofitable studies? 

9. What is the difference between brain technic 
and finger technic? 

10, State how a revolution in methods of touch has 
come about 



ERNEST SCHELLING 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Ernest Schelling was born at Belvidere, New Jer- 
sey, 1875. His first musical training was received 
from bis father. At the age of four and one- 
half years he made his d6but at the Phikdelphia 
Academy of Music. At the age of seven he entered 
the Paris Conservatoire, with the famous Chopin 
pupil, Georges Mathias, as his teacher. He re- 
mained with Mathias for two years. However, he 
commenced giving concerts which took him to France, 
England, and Austria when he was only eight years old. 
At ten he was taken to Stuttgart and placed under the 
educational guidance of Pruckner and the American 
teacher, Percy Gotschius, who attained wide fame 
abroad. Shortly thereafter he was placed for a short 
time under the instruction of Leschetizky, but this 
was interrupted by tours through Russia and other 
countries. At twelve he was taken to Basle, Switzer- 
land, and Hans Huber undertook to continue his already 
much varied training. Here his general education 
received the attention which had been much neglected. 
At fifteen he went to study with Earth in Berlin, but 
the strain of his previous work was so great that at 
seventeen he was attacked with neuritis and abandoned 
the career of a virtuoso. An accidental meeting 
with Paderewski led to an arrangement whereby 
Paderewski became his teacher for three years during 
which time Paderewski had no other pupils. Since 
then Schelling has made numerous tours at home and 
abroad. 



206 




ERNEST SCHELLING 



XX 

LEARNING A NEW PIECE 

ERNEST SCHELLING 

PRELIMINARY STUDY 

IN studying a new musical composition experience 
has revealed to me that the student can save much 
time and get a better general idea of the composition 
by reading it over several times before going to the 
instrument. While this is difficult for very young 
pupils to do before they have become accustomed to 
mentally interpreting the notes into sounds without 
the assistance of the instrument, it is, nevertheless, of 
advantage from the very start. It saves the pupil 
from much unprofitable blundering. To take a piece 
right to the keyboard without any preliminary con- 
sideration may perhaps be good practice for those who 
would cultivate ready sight reading, but it should be 
remembered that even the most apt sight readers will 
usually take the precaution of looking a new piece 
through at least once to place themselves on guard 
for the more difficult or more complicated passages. 
By forming the habit of reading away from the piano 
the pupil soon becomes able to hear the music without 
making the sounds at the keyboard and this leads to a 
mental conception of the piece as a whole, which 
invariably produces surprisingly good results. 

267 



268 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

THE TECHNICAL DEMANDS OF THE PIECE 
"The next consideration should be the execution 
of the right notes. A careless prima-vista reading 
often leads the pupil to play notes quite different 
from those actually in the piece. It is astonishing 
how often some pupils are deceived in this matter. 
Until you have insured absolute accuracy in the mat- 
ter of the notes you are not in condition to regard 
the other details. The failure to repeat an accidental 
chromatic alteration in the same bar, the neglect of a 
tie, or an enharmonic interval with a tie are all common 
faults which mark careless performances. After the 
piece has been read as a whole and you have deter- 
mined upon the notes so that there is no opportunity 
for inaccuracy from that source you will find that the 
best way to proceed is to take a very small passage 
and study that passage first. For the inexperienced 
student I should suggest two measures or a phrase of 
similar length. Do not leave these two measures 
until you are convinced that you have mastered them. 
This will take a great amount of concentration. 
Many pupils fail because they underestimate the 
amount of concentration required. They expect re- 
sults to come without effort and are invariably dis- 
appointed. After the first two measures have been 
mastered take the next two measures and learn these 
thoroughly. Then go back and learn measures two 
and three so that there may be no possibility of a 
break or interruption between them. Next proceed 



LEARNING A NEW PIECE 269 

in the same way with the following four measures and 
do not stop until you have completed the piece. 

This kind of study may take more time than the 
methods to which you have become accustomed, but 
it is by all means the most thorough and the most 
satisfactory. I found it indispensable in the prepara- 
tion of pieces for public performances* It demands 
the closest kind of study, and this leads to artistic 
results and a higher perception of the musical values 
of the composition being studied. Take for instance 
the C Major Fantasie of Schumann, one of the most 
beautiful and yet one of the most difficult of all 
compositions to interpret properly. At first the whole 
work seems disunited, and if studied carelessly the 
necessary unity which should mark this work can 
never be secured* But, if studied with minute re- 
gard for details after the manner in which I have 
suggested the whole composition becomes wonder- 
fully compact and every part Is linked to the other 
parts so that a beautiful unity must result. 

FORMAL DIVISIONS 

"Many works have formal divisions, such as those 
of the sonata, the suite, etc. Even the Liszt 'Rhapso- 
dies' have movements of marked differences in tempo 
and style. Here the secret is to study each division in 
its relation to the whole. There must be an internal 
harmony between all the parts. Otherwise the inter- 
pretation will mar the great masterpiece. The dif- 
ficulty is to find the bearing of one movement upon 



270 CHEAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

another. Even the themes of subjects of the conven- 
tional sonata have a definite interrelation. How to 
interpret these themes and yet at the same time pro- 
duce contrast and unity is difficult. It is this differ- 
ence of interpretation that adds charm to the piano 
recitals of different virtuosos. There is no one right 
way and no one best way, but rather an indefinite 
margin for personal opinion and the exhibition of 
artistic taste. If there was one best way, there are 
now machines which could record that way and there 
the whole matter would end. But we want to hear 
all the ways and consequently we go to the recitals 
of different pianists. How can I express more em- 
phatically the necessity for the pianist being a man of 
culture, artistic sensibilities and of creative tendencies? 
The student must be taught to think about his inter- 
pretations and if this point is missed and he is per- 
mitted to give conventional, uninspired performances 
he need never hope to play artistically, 

THE TOUCH REQUIRED 

"In studying a new piece, as soon as the style of 
the piece has been determined and the accuracy of 
the notes secured, the pupil should consider the 
all-important matter to touch. He should have been 
previously instructed in the principles of the dif- 
ferent kinds of touch used in pianoforte playing. I 
am a firm believer in associating the appropriate 
kind of touch with the passage studied from the very 
beginning. If the passage calls for a staccato touch 



LEARNING A NEW PIECE 271 

do not waste your time as many do by practicing it 
legato. Again, in a cantabile passage do not make 
the mistake of using a touch that would produce the 
wrong quality of tone. The wrists at all times 
should be in the most supple possible condition. 
There should never be any constraint at that point. 
When I resumed my musical studies with Paderewski 
after a lapse of several years he laid greatest emphasis 
upon this point. I feel that the most valuable years 
for the development of touch and tone are those 
which bind the natural facility of the child hand with 
the acquired agility of the adult, To my great mis- 
fortune I was not able to practice between the ages 
of twelve and eighteen. This was due to excessive 
study and extensive concert tours as , a prodigy. 
These wrecked my health and it was only by the 
hardest kind of practice in after life that I was able 
to regain the natural facility that had marked my 
playing in childhood. In fact I owe everything to the 
kind persistence and wonderful inspiration of M. 
Paderewski. 

THE RIGHT TEMPO 

"The right tempo is a very important matter for 
the student. First of all, he must be absolutely 
positive that his time is correct. There is nothing 
so barbarous in all piano-playing as a bad conception 
of time. Even the inexperienced and unmusical 
listener detects bad time. The student should con- 
sider this matter one of greatest importance and de- 



2>J2 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

mand perfect time from himself. With some students 
this can only be cultivated after much painful effort. 
The metronome is of assistance, as is counting, but 
these are not enough. The pupil must create a 
sense of time, he must have a sort of internal metro- 
nome which he must feel throbbing within all the 
time. 

"Always begin your practice slowly and gradually 
advance the tempo. The worst possible thing is to 
start practicing too fast. It invariably leads to bad 
results and to lengthy delays. The right tempo 
will come with time and you must have patience 
until you can develop it. In the matter of 'tempo 
rubato' passages, which always invite disaster upon 
the part of the student, the general idea is that the 
right hand must be out of time with the left. This 
is not always the case, as they sometimes play in 
unison. The word simply implies 'robbing the time/ 
but it is robbed after the same manner in which one 
'robs Peter to pay Paul/ that is, a ritard in one part of 
the measure must be compensated for by an accelera- 
tion in another part of the measure. If the right 
hand is to play at variance with the left hand the latter 
remains as a kind of anchor upon which the tempo 
of the entire measure must depend. Chopin called 
the left hand the chef tforchestre and a very good 
appellation this is. Take, for instance, his B flat 
minor Prelude, In the latter part of this wonderful 
composition the regular rhythmic repetition in octaves 



LEARNING A NEW PIECE 273 

in the bass makes a rhythmic foundation which the 
most erratic and nervous right hand cannot shake. 

RHYTHMIC PECULIARITIES 
"Rhythm is the basis of everything. Even the 
silent mountain boulders are but the monuments of 
some terrible rhythmic convulsion of the earth in 
past ages. There is a rhythm in the humming bird 
and there is a rhythm in the movements of a giant 
locomotive. We are all rhythmic in our speech, our 
walk, and in our life more or less. How important 
then is the study of the rhythmic peculiarities of the 
new piece. Every contributing accent which gives 
motion and characteristic swing to the piece must be 
carefully studied. It is rhythm which sways the 
audience. Some performers are so gifted with the 
ability to invest their interpretations with a rhythmic 
charm that they seem to fairly invigorate their audi- 
ences with the spirit of motion, I cannot conceive 
of a really great artist without this sense of rhythm. 

THE COMPOSER'S INSPIRATION 
"Personally I believe in 'pure music/ that is music 
in the field of pianoforte composition that is sufficient 
unto itself and which does not require any of the 
other arts to enhance its beauty. However, in the 
cases of some of our modern composers who have 
professedly drawn their musical inspiration from tales, 
great pictures or from nature, I can see the desira- 
bility of investigating these sources in order to come 

18 



274 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

closer to the composer's idea. Some of the works of 
Debussy demand this. Let me play you his 'Night 
in Granada,' for instance. The work is most subtle 
and requires an appreciation of Oriental life, and is 
indeed a kind of tonal dream picture of the old fortified 
palace of Moorish Spain, I feel that in cases of this 
kind it helps the performer to have in mind the com- 
poser's conception and in playing this piece in public 
I always follow this plan. 

STUDYING THE PHRASING 

"Each phrase in a piece requires separate study. 
I believe that the student should leave nothing un- 
done to learn how to phrase or rather to analyze a 
piece so that all its constituent phrases become dear 
to him. Each phrase must be studied with the same 
deference to detail that the singer would give to an 
individual phrase. This is by no means an easy 
matter. More important still is the interrelation of 
phrases. Every note in a work of musical art bears 
a certain relation to every other note. So it is with 
the phrases. Each phrase must be played with 
reference to the work as a whole or more particularly 
to the movement of which it is a part 

MARKING THE FINGERING 

"It seems hardly necessary to say anything about 

the fingering when so much attention is being given 

to the matter by the best teachers of the country, 

but certainly one of the most essential considerations 



LEARNING A NEW PIECE 275 

in the study of a new piece is the study of the finger- 
ing. A detailed study of this should be made and 
it should be clearly understood that the fingering 
should be adapted to fit the hand of the player. It 
is by no means necessary to accept the fingering 
given in the book as 'gospel 5 The wise student 
will try many fingerings before deciding upon the 
one that suits him best. Students who go to these 
pains are the ones who invariably succeed. Those 
who take anything that is presented to them with- 
out considering its advisability rarely attain lofty 
musical heights. 

"When a fingering has once been determined upon 
it should never be changed. To change a fingering 
frequently means to waste many hours of practice. 
This may be considered a mechanical method but 
it is the method invariably employed by successful 
artists. Why? Simply because one fingering closely 
adhered to establishes finger habits which give 
freedom and certainty and permits the player to 
give more consideration to the other details of artistic 
interpretation. 

"I ofttimes find it expedient to adapt a more diffi- 
cult fingering of some given passage for the reason 
that the difficult fingering frequently leads to a 
better interpretation of the composer's meaning. I 
know of innumerable passages in the piano classics 
which illustrate this point. Moreover a fingering 
that seems difficult at first is often more simple than 
the conventional or arbitrary fingering employed 



276 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

by the student, after the student has given sufficient 
time to the new fingering. The required accent often 
obliges the performer to employ a different fingering. 
The stronger fingers are naturally better adapted to 
the stronger accents. Otherwise it is best to use a 
similar fingering for similar passages. 

MEMORIZING 

"I should like to add a few words with regard to 
committing pieces to memory. There are three 
ways, i, By sight; that is, seeing the notes in your 
mind's eye; 2, memorizing by 'ear/ the way which 
comes to one most naturally; 3, memorizing by the 
fingers, that is training the fingers to do their duty 
no matter what happens. Before performing in 
public the student should have memorized the com- 
position in all of these ways. Only thus can he be 
absolutely sure of himself. If one way fails him the 
other method comes to his rescue. 

"After careful attention has been given to the 
various points of which I have spoken and the details 
of the composition satisfactorily worked out the stu- 
dent should practice with a view to learning the 
piece as a whole. Nothing is so distressing to the 
musician as a piece which does not seem to have 
coherence and unity. It should be regarded aurally 
as the artist regards his work visually. The painter 
stands off at some distance to look at his work in 
order to see whether all parts of his painting har- 
monize, The pianist must do much the same thing. 



LEARNING A NEW PIECE 277 

He must listen to his work time and time again and 
if it does not seem to Tiang together' he must unify 
all the parts until he can give a real interpretation 
instead of a collection of disjointed sections. This 
demands grasp, insight and talent, three qualifica- 
tions without which the pianist cannot hope for 
large success. " 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRESSION 
AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XVm 
ERNEST SCHELLING 

1. What should be the preliminary study of a new 
composition'? 

2. How should the mechanical difficulties of the 
piece be studied? 

3. How may one find the bearing of one movement 
upon another? 

4. State the importance of deciding upon the 
appropriate touch. 

5. How may the right tempo be established? 

6. What did Chopin call the left hand? 

7. What is it in playing that sways the audience? 

8. How should the fingering of a new piece be 
studied? 

9. Why is a more difficult fingering~sometimes pref- 
erable? 

10. Give a practical plan for memorizing. 



SIGISMUND STOJOWSKI 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Sigismund Stojowski was born at Strelce, Poland, 
May 2, 1870. He studied piano with L. Zelenski at 
Cracow and with Di6mer at the Paris Conserva- 
toire. At the same institution he studied composi- 
tion with L6o Delibes. His talent both as a com- 
poser and as a pianist was considered extraordinary 
at that time and he was successful in carrying off 
two first prizes, one for piano and one for compo- 
sition (1889). At that time Stojowski's great fellow 
countryman, Paderewski, assumed the educational 
supervision of his career and became his teacher in 
person. 

Stojowski's orchestral compositions attracted wide 
attention in Paris and he met with pronounced suc- 
cess as a virtuoso. Mr. Stojowski came to America 
in 1906 and he entered immediately into the musical 
life of the country, taking foremost rank as a composer, 
pianist and teacher. Aside from his musical talent 
he is a remarkable linguist and speaks many languages 
fluently. His articles written in English, for instance, 
are unusually graphic and expressive. Once when 
complimented upon his linguistic ability he remarked 
"We Poles are given the credit of being natural 
linguists because we take the trouble to learn many 
languages thoroughly in our youth." In 1913 Mr. 
Stojowski made a highly successful tour abroad, his 
compositions meeting with wide favor. 




If 



>r 



S. STOJOWSKI 



XXI 
WHAT INTERPRETATION REALLY IS 

SIGISMUND STOJOWSKI 

THE COMPOSER'S LIMITATIONS IN His MEANS 

OF EXPRESSION 

IT is difficult for some people who are not versed 
in the intricate mysteries of the art of music to realize 
how limited are the means afforded the composer for 
communicating to the interpreter some slight indica- 
tion of the ideal he had in mind when writing the com- 
position. It may be said that, while every great com- 
poser feels almost God-like at the moment of creation, 
the merest fraction of the myriad beauties he has in 
mind ever reach human ears. The very signs with 
which the composer is provided to help Kim put his 
thoughts down on paper are in themselves inade- 
quate to serve as a means of recording more than a 
shadow of his masterpiece as it was originally con- 
ceived. Of course, we are speaking now in a large 
sense we are imagining that the composer is a Beet- 
hoven with an immortal message to convey to pos- 
terity. Of all composers, Beethoven was perhaps 
the one to employ the most perfect means of expres- 
sion. His works represent a completeness, a poise 
and a masterly finish which will serve as a model for 
all time to come. It must also be noted that few com- 

270 



280 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

posers have employed more accurate marks of expres- 
sionsuch as time marks, dynamic marks, etc. 

In all these things Beethoven was obliged to adhere 
to the conventions adopted by others for this purpose 
of attempting to make the composer's meaning clearer 
to other minds. These conventions, like all conven- 
tions, are partly insufficient to convey the full idea 
of the composer, and partly arbitrary, in that they do 
not give the interpreter adequate latitude to introduce 
his own ideas in expression. The student should 
seek to break the veil of conventions provided by 
notation and seek a clearer insight into the compo- 
ser's individuality as expressed in his compositions. 
From this point of view the so-called subjective inter- 
pretation seems the only legitimate one. In fact, 
the ones who pretend to be objective in the sense of 
being literal and playing strictly according to the 
marks of expression and admitting little elasticity 
in the interpretation of these are also, as Rubinstein 
pointed out, subjective at heart. This may be more 
concisely expressed thus: Since all things of perma- 
nent value in music have proceeded from a fervid 
artistic imagination, they should be interpreted with 
the continual employment of the performer's imagi- 
nation. 

On the other hand, the subjective method, right 
as it is in principle, can become, of course, accord- 
ing to the Italian saying, Traduttore, traditore 
that is, an absolute treachery to the composer's ideal, 
if the performer's understanding and execution of 



WHAT INTERPRETATION REALLY IS 281 

the composition is not based upon long and careful 
investigation of all the fundamental laws and asso- 
ciated branches of musical study, which are designed 
to give him a basis for forming his own opinions upon 
the best method of interpreting the composition. In- 
adequate training in this respect is the Chinese Wall 
which surrounds the composer's hidden meaning. This 
wall must be torn down, brick by brick, stone by 
stone, in a manner which we would call " analytical 
practice." It is the only way in which the student 
may gain entrance to the sacred dty of the elect, to 
whom the ideal of the composer has been revealed. 

THE INTERPRETER MUST COOPERATE WITH THE 
COMPOSER 

In a certain sense the interpreter is a cooperator 
with the composer, or, more definitely expressed, 
he is the "continuer" along the line of the musical 
thought and its adequate expression. Music, of all 
arts, is the unfinished ait. When a great painting 
is completed, time, and time only, will make the 
changes in its surface. When the great masterpieces 
left the brushes of Raphael, Rubens, Holbein, Cor- 
reggio or Van Dyck they were finished works of art. 
When Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Brahms put 
their thoughts down upon paper they left a record 
in ink and paper which must be born again every 
time it is brought to the minds of men. This rebirth 
is the very essence of all that is best in interpretative 
skill. New life goes into the composition at the very 



282 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

moment it passes through the soul of the master 
performer. It is here that he should realize the great 
truth that in music, more than in any other art, " the 
letter kills and the spirit vivifies." The interpreter 
must master the "letter" and seek to give "rebirth" 
to the spirit. If he can do this he will attain the 
greatest in interpretative ability. 

From the literal or objective standpoint, then, an 
insight is gained into the nature of the composer's 
masterpiece, by close and careful study of the work 
itself, by gaining a knowledge of the musical laws 
underlying the structure and composition of a work 
of its kind as well as the necessary keyboard technic 
to give expression to the work, but the veil is torn 
from the composer's hidden meaning, only becoming 
intimate with Ms creative personality as a master, 
by studying his life environments, by investigating 
the historical background of the period in which he 
worked, by learning of his joys and his sufferings, by 
cultivating a deep and heartfelt sympathy for his 
ideals and by the scrupulous and constant revision 
of one's own ideals and conceptions of the standards 
by which his masterpieces should be judged. 

STUDYING THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 
To exemplify what I mean, I could, for instance, 
refer to Paderewski's interpretations of Liszt and 
Chopin. During the time I was associated with the 
master pianist as a pupil I had abundant opportuni- 
ties to make notes upon the very individual, as well 



WHAT INTERPRETATION REALLY IS 283 

as the highly artistically differentiated expressions of 
his musical judgment. It was interesting to observe 
that he played the Rhapsodies with various extensions 
and modifications, the result of which is the glorifica- 
tion of Liszt's own spirit. On the contrary, in order 
to preserve Chopin's spirit, the master would always 
repudiate any changes, like those of Tausig, for in- 
stance; by which some virtuosos pretend to "empha- 
size" or "modernize" Chopin's personal and perfect 
pianism. Differences in treatment are the outcome 
of deep insight as well as the study of the time and 
conditions under which the work was produced. 

The study of musical history reveals many very 
significant things which have a direct bearing not only 
upon the interpretation of the performer, but upon 
the degree of appreciation with which the listener is 
able to enjoy a musical work. It was for this reason 
that I prefaced the first two recitals of my course of 
historical recitals given at Mendelssohn Hall, New 
York, during the past season, with a lecture upon the 
historical conditions which surrounded the masters at 
the time the compositions were composed. 

THE INADEQUACY or MUSICAL SIGNS 

I have already referred to the inadequacy of musi- 
cal signs. Even the mechanical guide, the metronome, 
is not always to be depended upon to give the exact 
tempo the composer had in mind. Let me cite a little 
instance from the biography of Ries, the friend of 
Beethoven, Ries was preparing to conduct a per- 



284 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

formance of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony. He 
requested Beethoven to make notes upon paper re- 
garding the metronomic marks of speed at which the 
composition should be played, The metronome at 
that time was a comparatively new instrument. 
Maelzel, its inventor (or, rather, its improver, since the 
principle of the metronome was of Dutch origin), was 
a friend of Beethoven. At times they were on the 
best of terms, and at other times they were literally 
"at swords' points/ 7 Nevertheless, Maelzel, who 
had a strong personality, succeeded in inducing Bee- 
thoven to put metronomic markings upon several of 
his compositions. Naturally, the metronome was im- 
mediately accorded an important place in the musical 
world even at that day. Ries was consequently very 
anxious to give the Choral Symphony according to 
Beethoven's own ideas. Beethoven had complied 
with the publisher's desire and sent a slip of paper 
with the tempi marked metronomically. This slip 
was lost. Eies wrote to Beethoven for a duplicate. 
Beethoven sent another. Later the lost slip was found, 
and, upon comparing it with the second slip, it was 
found that Beethoven had made an entirely different 
estimate of the tempi at which he desired the Sym- 
phony to be played. 

Even with the most elaborate and complete marks 
of expression, such as those, for instance, employed 
by Beethoven and by Wagner, the composer is con- 
fronted with his great poverty of resources to pre- 
sent his views to the mind of the interpreter. Ex- 



WHAT INTERPRETATION REALLY IS 285 

tensive as some of the modern dictionaries of musical 
terminology seem to be, they are wholly inadequate 
from the standpoint of a complete vocabulary to give 
full expression to the artist's imagination. It also 
gives full scope to an infinite variety of error in the 
matter of the shades or degrees of dynamic force at 
which the conventional marks may be rendered. 

One might venture to remark that composers are 
the most keen, most conscious judges of their own 
works, or, rather, of the garments which fit them 
best. There is in all composition a divine part and 
also a conscious part. The divine part is the in- 
spiration. The conscious part has to do with dress- 
ing the inspiration in its most appropriate harmonic, 
polyphonic, and rhythmic garments. These gar- 
ments are the raiment in which the inspiration will be 
viewed by future generations. It is often by these 
garments that they will be judged. If the garments 
are awkward, inappropriate and ill-fitting, a beautiful 
interpretation of the composer's ideal will be impos- 
sible. Nevertheless, it is the performer's duty in each 
case to try to see through even unbecoming garments 
and divine the composer's thought, according to the 
interpreter's best understanding. 

LEARNING THE MUSICAL LANGUAGE 

Where interpretation is concerned, one is too often 

inclined to forget that while there is a higher part, 

the secrets of which are accessible only to the elect, 

there is also an elementary part which involves the 



286 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

knowledge of musical grammar, and beyond that 
the correct feeling of musical declamation since 
music, after all, is a language which is at all times 
perfectly teachable, and which should be most care- 
fully and systematically taught. I consider the 
book of Mathis Lussy, Rhythm and Musical Expres- 
sion, of great value to the student in search of truths 
pertaining to intelligent interpretation, Lussy was a 
Swiss who was born in the early part of the last cen- 
tury. He went to Paris to study medicine, but, 
having had a musical training in the country of his 
birth, he became a good pianoforte teacher and an 
excellent writer upon musical subjects. While teach- 
ing in a young ladies' school, he was confronted with 
the great paucity of real knowledge of the rudiments 
of expression, and he accordingly prepared a book 
upon the subject which has since been translated into 
several languages. This book is most helpful, and I 
advocate its use frequently. It should be in the 
hands of every conscientious piano student. 

MISTAKES PECULIAR TO THE PIANOFORTE 

PLAYER 

The nature of the keyboard of the piano, and the 
ease with which certain things are accomplished, 
make it possible for the performer to make certain 
errors which the construction of other instruments 
would prevent. The pianist is, for instance, entirely 
unlike the violinist, who has to locate his keyboard 
every time he takes up his instrument, aad, more- 



WHAT INTERPRETATION REALLY IS 287 

over, locate it by a highly trained sense of position. 
In a certain way I sometimes feel somewhat ashamed 
for the pianist profession when I hear players, even 
those with manifest technical proficiency, commit 
flagrant mistakes against elementary rules of accen- 
tuation and phrasing, such as, for instance, an average 
violinist acquainted with good bowing is accordingly 
prevented from making upon his instrument. 

The means of discovering the composer's hidden 
meaning are, in fact, so numerous that the con- 
scientious interpreter must keep upon continuous voy- 
ages of exploration. There are many easily recogni- 
zable paths leading to the promised land one is the 
path of harmony, without an understanding of which 
the would-be performer can never reach his goal; 
another is musical history; others are the studies of 
phrasing, rhythm, accentuation, pedaling, etc., etc., 
ad infinitum. To fail to traverse any one of these 
roads will result in endless exasperation. Find your 
guide, press on without thinking of failure, and the 
way to success may be found before you know it. 



288 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OP PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XIX 
SIGISMUND STOJOWSKI 

1. What composer preserved the most perfect bal- 
ance between artistic conception and expression? 

2. How may the student break the veil of conven- 
tions? 

3. What fundamental laws should underlie inter- 
pretation? 

4. How may master works be born again? 

5. Is one ever warranted in altering a masterpiece? 

6. Tell of Beethoven's attitude toward the met- 
ronome. 

7. How may errors arise in the use of the terms of 
expression? 

8. How may one be helped in learning the musical 
language? 

9. State some mistakes peculiar to the pianoforte. 
10, What voyages of exploration must the student 

make? 




'*': 



*: 



^ '* s 

/ 



.& 



IGNAZ JAN PADEREWSKI 



IGNAZ JAN PADEREWSKI 
BIOGRAPHICAL 

Ignaz Jan Paderewski was born at Kurylowka, Podolia, 
Poland, November 6, 1860. At the Warsaw Conservatory 
he was a pupil of Raguski. His first concert tour occurred 
when he was sixteen years of age. Three years later he 
became a teacher at the Warsaw Conservatory. There- 
after he went to Berlin where he studied under Urban 
and Wuerst. He did not go to Leschetizky until he was 
twenty-four years of age. For a short time he was a 
professor at the Strasburg Conservatory at a very small 
salary. He returned to Leschetizky, and shortly there- 
after he commenced making public appearances. His suc- 
cess was soon triumphant. In 1890 he made his first ap- 
pearances in England, and became immensely popular. In 
1891 he visited America, and has since made many tours 
of the United States. His pianoforte playing has been 
so frequently appraised by great critics that it is unneces- 
sary to comment upon it here. By many he is regarded 
as the greatest composer of his race with the exception of 
Chopin. His many noteworthy compositions for the piano 
are heard far too rarely from the keyboards of other vir- 
tuosos. There is a charm and originality about his works 
such as the Chants du Voyager, the Concerto in A Minor, 
the Humoresques and the Toccata that command permanent 
attention from the musical world. His^ opera Manru has 
been given occasionally in Europe and in America. It is 
a work of force and distinctiveness. His Symphony in B 
Minor, first given by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 
1909, is a work of large dimensions and fresh inspiration. 
During the great war Paderewski gave enormously from 
his wealth and income to stricken Poland. In 1900 Pa- 
derewski gave by Deed of Trust a sum of $10,000 to es- 
tablish a prize to be given every three years for the 
best compositions submitted^by native Americans. Among' 
those who have woa the prizes in the past have been H. 
K. Hadley, H. W. Parker, Arthur Bird and Arthur 
Shepherd, 



289 



BREADTH IN MUSICAL ART 

IGNAZ JAN PADEREWSKI 
THE call for breadth in musical art has been 
insistent since the earliest days of its history. Yet 
one can not help being conscious of the fact that 
the public in general is inclined to look upon all 
art workers as idealists confined to a narrow road 
very much apart from the broad pathway of life 
itself. As a matter of fact, the art-worker never 
approaches the great until he has placed himself in 
communication with life in all its wonderful mani- 
festations. Take, for instance, the case of the re- 
markable Florentine painter Leonardo da Vinci. 
The average reader would probably remember him 
as the creator of the much discussed Mona Lisa, 
but he was far more than a painter. He was an 
architect, an engineer, a sculptor, a scientist, a 
mechanician, and he even made excursions into the 
art of music, to say nothing of that of aerial navi- 
gation Da Vinci lived over four centuries ago, 
and yet even in our own time, one now and then 
finds well meaning individuals who fait to realize 
that unless the artist has the element of breadth in 
all his work, his productions must be, to say the 
least, transient in value. 

Again, we encounter the case of another great 
Italian artist, Michelangelo, painter, sculptor, ar- 



BREADTH IN MUSICAL ART 2pl 

chitect and poet Could the creator of so many 
amazingly beautiful art works have been as great 
had he not possessed the universal quality of mind 
which must have compelled him to develop the 
technic of expression in many different forms of 
his art? This can not be attributed so much to a 
kind of natural versatility as to his great breadth 
of vision, his communion with life in many differ- 
ent forms. The case of Richard Wagner is like- 
wise one in which our attention is drawn to a re- 
markable exhibition of breadth. In his earliest 
works Wagner followed the traditions of the 
Italian and French opera composers. Rienzi is 
quite as spectacular in its m$e en scene as anything 
that Meyerbeer ever wrote, but Wagner's broad 
outlook upon life soon led him to reach out for 
larger works. While it is frequently averred by 
man-critics that Wagner's music is greatly superior 
to his verse, we must nevertheless remember that 
the music of one of his earlier operas was rejected 
at the Paris opera and the libretto accepted for the 
use of another composer. In Wagner one finds not 
only the composer, but the poet and the creator 
of immortal stage pictures. 

Many of the great composers of the past have 
been men of such pronounced musical breadth that 
they could not have confined themselves to the 
creative branches of their work Bach, Handel, 
Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, Mendelssohn, Brahms 



292 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

and others took great pride in their public per- 
formances. Indeed, in the early days of musical 
art, when the literature of the piano, for instance, 
was insignificant in comparison with its great pres- 
ent wealth, the interpreter was in many cases identi- 
cal with composer. Interest centered in him be- 
cause of the fact that he was gifted with the crea- 
tive faculty. Bach, indeed, was not only a masterly 
organist but could play the violin and the clavichord 
in a manner which attracted wide attention. Since 
the time of Bach, however, the score of music has 
increased so enormously that if one masters the 
literature of one instrument he will have accom- 
plished a great task. But he should not, however, 
permit this accomplishment to obliterate everything 
else in his life, as so many apparently think he must 
do. If he possesses the mind of a creator he owes it 
to himself and to society to develop that as well. He 
must keep in touch with the great movements of his 
time and of the past in art, science, history and 
philosophy. The student who sacrifices these things 
can never hope to climb to fame on a ladder of 
technic, 

SERIOUS INTEREST IN STUDY 

The need for technic must, nevertheless, not be 
underrated. Technic demands patient, painstaking, 
persistent study. Art without technic is inverte- 
brate, shapeless, characterless. You ask me 



BREADTH IN MUSICAL ART 293 

whether the Poles, for instance, are a musical 
people. I can only say that one constantly meets 
in Poland young men and women with the most 
exceptional musical talent but what is talent with- 
out serious, earnest study leading to artistic and 
technical perfection? 

For more than one hundred years Poland has 
been woefully restricted in its devlopment. With- 
out national resources and with limited school 
facilities little progress of a broad character has 
been possible. In the conservatory at Warsaw, for 
instance, we meet at once a decided difference be- 
tween that institution and the great music schools 
at Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the Russian 
conservatories general educational work goes hand 
in hand with music, and the result is that the stu- 
dents receive a comprehensive course leading to 
high culture. If the same studies were introduced 
in the Warsaw schools, instruction would have to 
be in the Russian language and the Polish opposi- 
tion to this is so great that such a plan could only 
meet with failure. One can but take pride in a 
nation that has been divided for a century, yet still 
maintains the integrity of its mother tongue. 

As a consequence of the educational conditions in 
Poland there has been in the past what might be 
described as a lack of ambition to develop serious 
works of art. The people strive to be light-hearted 
and much of the music one hears in the home takes 



294 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

its complexion from this spirit. However, there 
has developed in Poland during the last twenty or 
twenty-five years what many now regard as the 
new Polish school of music. Much of this is due 
to the efforts of that remarkable man Sigismund 
Noszkowski. 

Noszkowski was born in 1848. He was early 
fired with an intense zeal to develop the melodic re- 
souftes of his native land. For a time he studied 
unde? Kiel and Raif at Berlin, but in the late 
eighties he became a professor at the Warsaw Con- 
servatory. His noble attitude toward his art may 
be estimated from the fact that his efforts for a 
time were confined to the invention of a system of 
musical notation for the blind. His example soon 
inspired many younger men to work at musical 
creation and as a result we can point at the present 
moment to distinguished younger composers with 
really remarkable accomplishments as musicians. 
Among the best known I may quote such names as 
Szymanowski, Rozycki, Melcer. The composer 
Fitelberg is frequently classed among the members 
of the new Polish school, despite the fact that he 
is properly of Russian-Jewish origin. 

By the use of themes suggesting those of the folk 
music of Poland, these younger men, all finely 
equipped for their careers through exhaustive tech- 
nical training, have produced new musical works 
which must contribute much to the fame of Poland 



BREADTH IN MUSICAL ART 295 

and to the pride of the Poles. This has been ac- 
complished, it should be remembered, despite the 
political and educational restrictions and notwith- 
standing the fact that the scarcity of means for 
promoting musical culture in Poland is almost lu- 
dicrous. The conservatory, for instance, has a 
subvention of only about four thousand dollars 
a year. 

BREADTH THROUGH PRACTICE 
While there are many extremely gifted musicians 
in Poland, the young people, like the young people 
of many lands, are far too inclined to look upon 
music as a pastime rather than as a serious study. 
This does not mean that the student should elimi- 
nate the joy or the pleasure from his work at the 
keyboard, but he should rather find his true happi- 
ness in labor of a more serious kind. In Poland 
the general state of the musical development is not 
very great, but this is not due to lack of talent In 
fact the quantity of talent is in some cases surpris- 
ingly high. This is particularly the case among 
executive artists. They have rich imaginations and 
great temporary zeal, but lack the inclination or 
ability to regard music as a serious art worthy of a 
great life struggle. 

Students spend too much time in playing and too 
little in work. It seems beyond the comprehension 
of many that hour after hour may be thrown away 



296 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

at the keyboard and little or nothing accomplished. 
The very essence of success is, of course, practice. 
But students who are gifted are very likely to be so 
enchanted with a composition that they dream away 
the priceless practice minutes without any more 
definite purpose than that of amusing themselves. 
It is human to crave pleasure and the more musical 
the student the more that student is inclined to revel 
in the musical beauties of a new work rather than 
to devote the practice time to the more laborious but 
vastly more productive process of real hard music 
study. 

Music STUDY Is WORK 

This is often especially true of exercises, scales, 
arpeggios, etc. Students with monstrous technical 
shortcomings neglect all exercises with the sublime 
conceit that they are different from other mortals 
and can afford to do without them. They are quite 
willing to attempt the most difficult things in the 
piano repertoire. The highest peaks are nothing to 
them. They will essay anything before they are 
able to climb and the result is almost invariably 
disastrous. Music study is work. Those who work 
are the only ones in any art who ever win the great- 
est rewards. What could be more obvious? Still 
it is one of the greatest truths in all music study. 
It is very delightful to sit at the keyboard and revel 
in some great masterpiece, but when it comes to the 



BREADTH IN MUSICAL ART 297 

systematic study of some exacting detail of finger- 
ing, pedaling, phrasing, touch, dynamics: that is 
work, and nothing but work. One can not be too 
emphatic on this point, 

PRACTICE THAT LEADS TO BREADTH 
One is often importuned for suggestions to help 
aspiring pianists in their practice. While one may 
welcome an opportunity to help others in this par- 
ticular, there is very little that can be said System 
is perhaps the most essential thing in practice. I 
do not mean a system that is so inelastic that it can 
not be instantly adapted to changing needs, but I 
do refer to the fact that the student who wishes 
to progress regularly must have some system in his 
daily work He must have some design, some 
chart, some plan for his development. A bad plan 
is better than no plan. In his daily practice, how- 
ever, he should see to it that he does not narrow 
himself. His plan should be a comprehensive one 
and should embrace as many things as he can 
possibly do superlatively well, and no more. 

MUSICAL CULTURE IN THE HOME 
Music in itself is one of the greatest forces for 
developing breadth in the home. Far too many stu- 
dents study music with the view to becoming great 
virtuosi. Music should be studied for itself without 
any great aim In view except in the cases of marvel- 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

ously talented children. Again, many children 
might be developed into teachers or composers who 
would never make virtuosos. This should be very 
carefully considered, Most of the students assume 
that the career of the virtuoso is easier, more illus- 
trious, and last but not least, more lucrative than 
that of the composer. But is it not better to start 
out to be a great composer or a great teacher and 
become one, rather than to strive to be a virtuoso 
and prove a fiasco? 

The intellectual drill which the study of music 
gives the child is of great educational value. There 
is nothing which will take its place and it is for this 
reason that many of the greatest educators have 
advocated it so highly. In addition to this the ac- 
tual study of music results in almost limitless grati- 
fication in later life in the understanding of great 
musical masterpieces. 

I am very much impressed with the educational 
value of the mechanical means for representing 
music, such as the best piano players with the best 
rolls and the sound-reproducing machines with the 
best records. I know of one instance of a man who 
possessed a high class player-piano. At first he re- 
fused to have anything to do with music except 
that of the most popular description, such as popu- 
lar songs and light operas. Gradually his taste was 
revolutionized and now he will not permit any 
trashy music in his home. This was accomplished 



BREADTH IN MUSICAL ART 299 

in such a short time that I was astonished Natur- 
ally such a man would want his children, or anyone 
in whom he was interested, to attend the best con- 
certs, the best operas and secure instruction in the 
art of music. In other words, a person addicted to 
very trivial music was won over to music of the 
best description. His whole outlook upon the art 
was changed and he was made a broader man in 
this sense. 

I can not but feel that these mechanical means 
of reproducing music, in addition to carrying mas- 
terpieces to thousands who might not otherwise be 
able to become acquainted with them, will at the 
same time develop a more widespread demand for 
musical instruction, for the mysteries of the most 
beautiful of arts will always have their fascination 
as well as their educational benefits. 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XX 

IGNAZ JAN PADEREWSKI 

1. How does the art worker approach the great 
in his art? 

2. Name seven master composers who were also 
noted for their ability at the keyboard? 

3. What instruments did Bach play? 



300 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

4. How has the conservatory at Warsaw dif- 
fered in the past from the leading conservatories of 
Russia? 

5. What is the essence of pianistic success? 

6. What is one of the dangers of gifted 
students ? 

7. State the value of a plan in piano study* 

8. What should be the principal aim of music in 
the home? 

9. Of what value as an Intellectual drill is 
music? 

10. Is there any subject that will take the place 
of music in general educational work? 



MME. YOLANDO MERO 



YOLANDA MERO 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Although Mme. Hero's first American tour was 
as recent as 1910, she has already become one of 
the best known of the artists touring America. 
This is particularly noteworthy, as she came to this 
country unsupported by the name of any famous 
teacher to help her in gaining recognition with the 
American public. She was not a pupil of Liszt 
or of Leschetizky or Rubinstein, but of teachers 
whose names are known to but very few Americans. 
Unknown, she won upon her own merits, and her 
position has constantly advanced by the same means, 
Her career is an illustration of the fact that the 
teacher with a great career is not necessary to the 
student's success. Mme. Mero was born in Buda- 
pest in 1887. Her first teacher was her father. At 
six she entered the National Concervatory and re- 
mained there for eight years. Her pianoforte 
teacher was Augusta Rennebaum, a pupil of Liszt. 
Mme. Mere has met with significant success in all 
of the European music centres. Just at this time, 
when the world is amazed at the wonderful effi- 
ciency of the methods in all phases of activity in 
the countries under Teutonic influence, the follow- 
ing interview should prove very interesting indeed. 



801 



THOROUGHNESS IN HUNGARIAN MUSIC 
STUDY 

MME, YOLANDO M1ERO 

COMPARATIVELY few American tourists visit 
Budapest after the manner in which they go in 
veritable droves to London, Berlin, Paris, Munich, 
Venice and Nuremberg. The reason probably is 
that the city is something over one hundred miles 
further than Vienna, and American tourists are 
fearful that they might not be so readily under- 
stood. As a matter of fact Budapest is the most 
hospitable of cities and the tourist has less difficulty 
there in making himself understood than he does 
in some of the western centres of culture in Europe. 

Musically speaking, Budapest has the advantage 
of the so-called German efficiency and the Hun- 
garian Zal, or spirit which is eternally identified 
with all phases of Magyar art. Part of the Hun- 
garian capital reaches back to the middle ages, and 
other parts are as modern, or if you please as "up- 
to-date," as any American city. Education is re- 
vered and the University has in the vicinity of five 
thousand students. It is a city of very nearly one 
million inhabitants and what an interesting city it 
is with its cosmopolitan ancestry and its cosmo- 
politan present. Life lacks little in variety and 
color in the old city on the Danube. There people 

302 



THOROUGHNESS IN HUNGARIAN MUSIC STUDY 303 

of all nations meet, The predominating spirit is 
Hungarian, although there are thousands of Ger- 
mans and Austrians in the city, as indeed there are 
French and English and orientals, Please get out 
of your head the idea that Hungarians are neces- 
sarily gipsies. As a matter of fact the gipsy popu- 
lation of Hungary is comparatively small. There 
are, however, many influences from the Orient 
which one cannot fail to note. As late as the time 
of the birth of Bach, Budapest was under Turkish 
control and was the seat of a Turkish Pasha. It is 
desirable to review the character of Hungary in 
order to understand the nature of Hungarian musi- 
cal education. In no city of the world do exactly 
the same conditions exist. 

HUNGARY'S GREAT Music SCHOOLS 
In Budapest there are two great musical institu- 
tions both of which were founded by Franz Liszt. 
One is the Royal Academy and the other is the 
National Conservatory. Liszt's pupil, Count Zichy, 
who in young manhood lost his right arm and then 
startled the world with his wonderful left hand 
playing, has been the artistic executor of Liszt in 
these great undertakings in that he has given of his 
time and energies in a most generous manner to 
the National Conservatory of which he is the presi- 
dent 
While there are many private teachers in Buda- 



304 GKEAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

pest, the government institutions set the standard 
and all other teachers are obliged to live up to that 
standard. The schools begin at the very beginning. 
Every step is taken up and nothing is left out. The 
pupil is not permitted to advance until the exam- 
iners have become convinced that everything has 
been comprehended. Women have played a very 
interesting part in Hungarian musical education. 
Lina Ramann, although born in Bavaria, devised a 
system of training for the young which has influ- 
enced Hungarian music teachers in that it de- 
manded that little children should sing songs as a 
part of their training, Lina Ramann was a pupil 
of Liszt and was his biographer. It is under- 
stood that she was advised by Liszt in many of the 
reforms that she instituted. My own teacher, Mme. 
Augusta Rennebaum, had the greatest regard for 
her common sense ideas pointing to musical devel- 
opment along artistic lines. Unfortunately her 
valuable essays upon elementary musical training 
have not been translated into English. 

While the general line of musical instruction in 
the Hungarian schools is not so very different from 
that of the German schools, the pupils are charac- 
terized by the enthusiastic Hungarian temperament 
and the interest in the work is intense in the ex- 
treme. There is constant rivalry among the pupils 
even in such matters as technic or simple scale play- 
ing- The pupils are kept at a white heat of interest 



THOROUGHNESS IN HUNGARIAN MUSIC STUDY 30$ 

and competition is very severe. The concerts that 
occur with great frequency are of immense help to 
the student How is the student to gain his or- 
chestral repertoire unless he has a chance to per- 
form his concertos with orchestras? This oppor- 
tunity the Budapest conservatories give in liberal 
measure. When I went out into the professional 
world I did not have merely a theoretical knowledge 
of the actual work of the concert platform for I 
had played the great works with the conservatory 
orchestra, not an amateur orchestra stumbling 
along with me as a hindrance but a finely drilled 
body of players capable of taking the most difficult 
music and doing it well. It is one thing to be able 
to play the Liszt E flat major Concerto or the 
Chopin F minor Concerto with a second piano 
accompaniment and quite another thing to play 
them with a full orchestra, There are great num- 
bers of most excellent teachers in America includ- 
ing some of the finest living masters, but the stu- 
dent who aspires to play with the great orchestras 
of the country (every touring virtuoso of the pre- 
sent day must do that in addition to his solo play- 
ing) should have practical drill with a real orches- 
tra or run the chance of making a fiasco at the 
first concert. 

A FAULT IN AMERICAN MUSICAL TRAINING 
One fault I would find with American musical 



306 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

training, and that is that the pupils run after so 
many different teachers. I saved years by sticking 
to one good teacher, American music students 
should cultivate more respect for their teachers and 
teachers should be so thorough and so sincere that 
they will command respect. A teacher is not a suit 
of clothes that can be changed every day or every 
half hour. The selection of a good teacher is a 
serious problem but once you have found a good 
one and find yourself progressing properly, don't 
think of changing because someone suggests that 
you might do better under another teacher. The 
Hungarian musical students are spared such un- 
fortunate changes because their musical training is 
intelligently guided. The parents have respect for 
the judgment of musicians of established reputa- 
tion and do not as a rule attempt to interfere in 
things about which they know little or nothing. I 
have a feeling that many American parents of pu- 
pils who could be put to shame musically by Hun- 
garian parents of the same station meddle need- 
lessly with the musical education of their children, 
sending them from teacher to teacher until the child 
has nothing but a muddled idea of what he is doing. 
Why cannot Americans see fit to leave the direction 
of the careers of their children to specialists? 

In much the same manner Americans have been 
sent in hordes to Europe for the benefits of the 
efficient training in some centers only to find that 



THOROUGHNESS IN HUNGARIAN MUSIC STUDY 307 

they could have accomplished as much if they had 
gone to the right teachers in America. Why send 
pupils to Europe half-trained to have the thorough 
European teachers laugh at them and gain a con- 
temptuous idea of American musical training when 
as a matter of fact the right teachers in America 
would have given them quite as thorough a drilling 
as they could have gotten in any European country. 

THE LAND OF LISZT 

It is natural that in the land of Liszt the piano 
should be the most popular instrument. The in- 
teresting cembalo that one sees in Hungarian bands 
is comparatively rare, as the zither is rare in mod- 
ern Germany. It is a national instrument, but the 
most popular instrument of Hungary is unquestion- 
ably the piano, with the violin as second. Pianists' 
concerts in Budapest are attended with the same in- 
terest with which the people of New York flock to 
the opera. The student is of course influenced by 
this. If one lives in a community where the piano 
is respected only as a piece of machinery, as one 
would respect a steam boiler or a threshing-ma- 
chine, the interest in the instrument is not likely to 
be very uplifting to the student. Liszt was, and 
still is, one of the great national heroes 01 Hun- 
gary, and Liszt was first and foremost a pianist. 
In no country of the world has the piano a higher 
station than it has in Hungary. The interest in 



308 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

everything pianistic is serious and deep. The 
pianist is somebody. This principle needs no ex- 
planation. It is human to crave appreciation. No- 
body is impelled to spend a lifetime in developing 
something that will be rejected by the public. For 
this reason the Hungarian music student, even 
though he is at the same time a violinist, usually 
plays the piano and plays it welL 

GIPSY INFLUENCES 

In Hungary the peasants still invent folk songs 
for their own entertainment They have no idea 
of ever doing anything more than amusing their 
own circle of friends with the pretty tunes. Many 
of the themes that are believed by the public to be 
Gipsy themes are no more nor less than these Mag- 
yar folk songs that have been appropriated by the 
Gipsies and played by them as they roamed around 
the country. The Hungarian themes have had a 
great influence upon Hungarian music of the more 
developed kind. Liszt was among the first to utilize 
this material. But it is a great mistake to believe 
that the themes are Gipsy in their origin. One 
hears it said that modern Hungarian composers 
such as Bartok and Kedaly, who are as advanced in 
their methods as Debussy, have employed Gipsy 
themes. They have been subject to Hungarian in- 
fluences but their Gipsy influence is limited to the 
exploitation of Hungarian themes by the roaming 



THOROUGHNESS IN HUNGARIAN MUSIC STUDY 309 

Gipsy players. This is a distinction which Hun- 
garians are proud to make as they do not wish to 
be classed as nomads any more than the Bohemians 
wish to be thought the free and easy habitues of 
the studio districts which the misuse of the name 
Bohemian has given to them 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXI 



MME. YOLANDO HERO 



1. Who founded the leading musical institutions 
of Hungary? 

2. What famous Bavarian woman had much to 
do with the development of music in Hungary? 

3. State one of the advantages of public per- 
formance in Hungarian conservatories? 

4. What is one of the serious faults in American 
musical education? 

5. What is one of the dangers in sending Ameri- 
can pupils to Europe? 

6. How is the piano regarded in Hungary? 

7. Have the Hungarian Folk Themes originated 
in Gypsy music? 



RUDOLF GANZ 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Mr. Rudolph Ganz has made repeated tours of 
the United States, gaining continual favor every 
year. He has the unique distinction of being one 
of the few musicians of Swiss birth who have come 
to renown in the United States. Mr. Ganz was 
born in Zurich, February 24, 1877. His first 
studies in music were received at the Zurich Con- 
servatory under Robert Freund (piano) and Joh, 
Hegar ('cello). He was then placed under the 
instruction of his uncle, Carl Eschmann-Dumur, in 
Lausanne. It was at this time that he made his 
first appearance as a pianist, a 'cellist and organist 
and as a composer. Then he went to Strasburg, 
where he became the pupil of Fritz Blumer at the 
local conservatory. Thereafter he went to Berlin 
and studied a short time with Ferruccio Busoni. 
His teachers in composition were Charles Blanchet 
(at Lausanne) and Heinrich Urban (at Berlin). 
In 1899 he appeared several times as a pianist with 
the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and also directed 
his own First Symphony. In 1900 he was called 
to Chicago, where he remained for five years as a 
teacher in a leading conservatory. Then he re- 
turned to Europe with the view of giving more time 
and attention to his concert work and to composi- 
tion. He has produced many original works, in- 
cluding a Konsertstiick for piano and orchestra, 
numerous male choruses and many songs. He has 
given particular attention on his concert programs 

to the works of modern masters, 
810 



r.. 








RUDOLF GANZ 



OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS IN 
PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

RUDOLF GANZ 

CHANGING CONDITIONS IN PIANOFORTE PLAYING 
THE tendency in modern pianoforte playing is to 
bring about the best results with the least possible 
effort. Twenty-five years ago it really seemed as 
though the opposite were true. Then the virtuous 
student was estimated by the huge amount of prac- 
tice that was done. Whether that practice was 
really aimed at any definite accomplishment seemed 
to matter very little indeed. It was done like pen- 
ance, and each repetition was supposed to expiate 
some technical sin. The result was that with that 
kind of practice and very arbitrary courses of study 
the pupil was able to do a certain number of set 
tasks and nothing else. There was not enough 
musical or pianistic culture. The pupils were a 
manufactured product and little else. Like all 
fabricated contrivances, they were limited to one 
set of operations and lacked independence. In this 
manner these pupils could play certain set sonatas, 
certain etudes and certain brilliant concert pieces, 
but the moment they ventured beyond this limited 
repertoire they were miserably lost. Indeed, the 
training of some teachers and some schools was so 

arbitrary that it was easily possible for an acute 

an 



312 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

observer to determine the identity of the teacher 
by hearing a pupil play a given work. I know of 
one teacher whose pupils play a certain Beethoven 
sonata so much after the same fashion that one 
might think that they had swallowed the same 
piano-player roll, and that the perforations were 
going through their automatic intellects with the 
same mechanical precision that they would through 
a piano-player. It seemed to be a case of making 
pupils out of would-be-young-artists instead of 
making young artists out of pupils, which is the new 
idea of teaching. 

For instance, the theme of the Rondo in the 
Sonata Opus 53 of Beethoven is as follows: 

No. I. 




I have heard this Sonata played by innumerable 
pupils of a great European teacher and they invari- 
ably play it thus; 




There is no aesthetic reason why the passage 
should be altered, but that is not the main question 
here, but rather to demonstrate the deadly uniform- 



OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS 313 

ity of set or forced interpretation. It is as though 
a teacher of acting with a peculiar nasal whine 
should insist upon the pupil imitating him in every 
detail. 

THE RIGHTFUL PRESCRIPTION OF TECHNTC 
One cannot always prescribe technic as one does 
medicine, but there are certain things which the 
teacher should take into account in rounding out 
the pupil's work. For instance, the pupil with an 
inclination to be sentimental is to be developed by 
having music that is heroic in style. Again the 
pupil who is robust and ponderous in type should 
have the delicate side of his nature cultivated. At 
all times, however, the semblance of the machine 
in playing should be fought through the culture of 
personality, individuality. Let the teacher ask the 
pupil (I am speaking here of the well-prepared and 
well-advanced student): "What is your feeling 
about this passage ? In the light of what you know, 
how do you think it ought to be interpreted?" In 
almost every case this will bring about a far better 
and higher form of interpretation than if the 
teacher lays down ironclad rules and insists upon 
their observance, 

THE LIMITATIONS OF THE PIANOFORTE 
Some piano enthusiasts seem to be happiest when 
they are trying "to make the piano whisper" or 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 



make it sound like a cyclone. After all, so few 
have considered the individuality of the piano itself 
and the gentle art of making it sound like a piano. 
Indeed, there is a difference in pianos, and the 
different pianos and the different auditoriums in 
which they are heard all require a different treat- 
ment The parlor grand is to my mind the best 
balanced instrument, more so than the great concert 
grand. The piano is suited to medium-sized halls 
far better than large halls, and when one plays in 
such a great room as Carnegie Hall the nature of 
the piano is necessarily strained. The player must 
be able to adapt himself to his instrument and the 
size of his instrument. Some do this and some 
never think of it. The huge concert hall is only 
suitable for d fresco playing and such sensational 
performances should be given in a great winter 
garden, 

There is a need for more reserve and sensitive- 
ness in piano playing, so that the pianistic values 
may be better observed. The piano is not an anvil, 
as many seem to imagine. It is not the poor piano's 
fault that it is a piano, and it shouldn't be made to 
suffer for it. Why deceive our ears and our in- 
telligence about musical instruments, when their 
characteristics are so very obvious to all? I can 
always get far more out of the treble in a parlor 
grand than I can out of the treble in a concert grand 
because the proportion of tone between treble and 



OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS 315 

bass is more even. I have, however, great faith in 
the new invention of an Englishman (Clutsam) 
called the "cradle key" action, which has been ap- 
plied to different pianos of different makes as an 
experiment, and which should become the piano 
action of the future. This is a real innovation to 
my mind, and induces far greater sensitiveness of 
touch with much less effort than any previous form 
of action. 

OPPORTUNITIES IN TONE VALUE 
This is an age of tone values in piano playing. 
To my mind, Busoni is the only one of the modern 
pianists who has introduced new tone values. He 
has not a "touch;" he has "touches." He realized 
that there was no expression in touch per se, but 
that expression comes from regulating tonal values 
in a series of notes. No painter can take a brush , 
and splash one brushful of color on a canvas and 
express anything by it, at least he cannot express 
anything that anyone other than a futurist would 
recognize as beautiful. He needs to make innum- 
erable strokes all of varying color values, and the 
result is an artistic whole. So in piano playing, the 
study of each note struck and the manner in which 
it is struck depends upon the relation of that tone 
to the whole. 

In Thalberg's day it was doubtless possible to 
sing far more readily at the keyboard than in this 



316 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

day, when the actions of pianos are very much 
heavier. This is the principal reason for the com- 
plete revolutionizing of ideas in playing; instead of 
so-called perfect relaxation we have weight playing 
and "set finger/' "wrist/' "forearm/' etc., positions. 

TASTE 

As certain classes of cultured people are trained 
to love Chopin, Schumann and Debussy, so there 
will always be hordes of people climbing up the 
cultural staircases, who for the time being must 
survive on music very near to their intellectual and 
emotional capacity. It is well for them to be frank 
about their likes and dislikes, and I have far more 
respect for the man who candidly says that he pre- 
fers Lange's Flower Song to Richard Strauss' 
Elektra than I have for the individual who endures 
Elektra like a surgical operation merely because it 
is fashionable to do so, The need for the music 
of yesterday is shown in a remarkable way by the 
tremendous amount of piano player records of old- 
fashioned pieces. I have recently heard pieces on 
the piano player that I imagined were extinct, only 
to learn that there is a great market for such pieces 
among purchasers who have had no specific training 
in piano playing. Think of it! So much bad music 
is written and not enough to supply the market ! It 
does not pay for anyone to be snobbish or "patron- 
ize" the musical taste of others. This is a big 



OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS 317 

world, and while it is incumbent upon all artists to 
help in raising the taste of the public as a whole, it 
is not going to be done by snatching away Gott- 
schalk's Dying Poet or Jungmann's Heimweh from 
the person who is reveling in them, but by leading 
them to see that the music of abler composers has 
a refinement and character absent in the pieces of 
the more superficial writers. 

OPPORTUNITIES IN SHADING 
The pianist is learning new ideas upon the sub- 
ject of shading. There was a time in our art when 
nothing but a very definite tune would satisfy the 
taste of the cultured musician. The day of melody 
is not past by any means, and Wagner, Schumann 
and Brahms showed us that the definition of a tune 
was a very elastic one. It remained for Debussy 
and his confreres, however, to point out that there 
was a beauty in atmosphere and color just as there 
is a beauty in masses of clouds or in sunsets. I 
have all of my pupils play the Debussy Preludes, 
and the Ravel and Scott pieces so that they may 
learn that one kind of beauty may be obtained by 
the exquisite shading of tone masses in what might 
be termed fluid form. From these they learn how 
to shade in Chopin. Without shading the modern 
French is nothing. Ravel in some ways is greater 
than Debussy in the opportunity his works offer 
for polyphonic and polyharmonic shading. This is 



318 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

instanced in his wonderfully exotic Le Gibet, which 
I consider the most complete example of modem 
music It is one of the most ambitious things ever 
written for the instrument. Indeed, it would seem 
to me one of the most difficult compositions of all 
pianoforte literature, much more difficult for the 
interpreting musician than the famous Don Juan 
Fantaisie of Mozart as arranged by Liszt. 

OPPORTUNITIES IN PHRASING 
There are, of course, no new opportunities in 
phrasing except that the student of today realizes 
the necessity for intelligent phrasing far more than 
the student of twenty years ago. There are, how- 
ever, still some people who believe that anyone can 
play the piano without being a musician. That is, 
they seem to think that all one need do is to culti- 
vate a digital cleverness to succeed as a pianist Of 
course, one may learn a great deal from certain 
books on phrasing, but the master pianist gets his 
outlook upon phrasing by being as familiar with 
the laws of the composer as the composer himself. 
A smattering of information on the subject will 
never satisfy him. I advise my pupils to go to 
hear the concerts of great orchestras and learn how 
to listen to the careful phrasing of each instrument 
The playing of concertos with accompaniment of 
the teacher at the second piano is to be recom- 
mended most highly. The standard of musical in- 



OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS 319 

terpretation lies within the performances of a per- 
fect orchestral organization. 

OPPORTUNITIES IN PEDALING 
I pedal Chopin quite differently since I have 
played the compositions of the modern French 
school. It is strange how the new illuminates the 
old. There were certain prescribed methods which 
held me back from playing the new things to my 
satisfaction until I felt the new "light." The idea 
of pedaling for what is known as atmosphere was 
new and not easy to master. Just as the master 
artist disdains the sharp, definite outline of the 
photographic lines and seeks the softness of an 
artistic blending of his surfaces and colors, so does 
the pianist of the modern school pedal his works 
at times so that the tone masses are blended without 
being blurred. Indeed, even a blur of tone is now 
conceded to have its artistic values when properly 
introduced, and I personally make it a point to 
teach with utter enjoyment what years ago I 
considered to be "bad" pedaling. The modern mu- 
sician must be able to "hear with his eyes" and "see 
with his ears." He then can live in the new con- 
quered land. 



32O GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXII 

RUDOLF GANZ 

1. What is the tendency of modem pianoforte 
playing? 

2. What danger should the student fight in his 
piano playing? 

3. What type of piano is the best-balanced instru- 
ment? 

4. Upon what does the manner of striking a sin- 
gle note depend? 

5. Has the day of melody passed? 

6. What is Debussey's signal accomplishment ? 

7. How does the master pianist get his artistic 
outlook ? 

8. Why are orchestral concerts desirable for the 
piano student ? 

9. How has the modern French school affected 
the study of pedaling? 




fc 

l< 

I 



ERNEST HUTCHESON 



ERNEST HUTCHESON 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Mr. Ernest Hutcheson is one of a group of young 
men who have within recent years brought the 
name of Australia into the musical firmament Al- 
though the better part of his life has been spent in 
foreign lands, Mr. Hutcheson is a native of Mel- 
bourne, where he was born July 20, 1871. He was 
a pupil of the Rev. G. W. Torrance, Mus.Doc. 
(Dublin), and of Max VogricL At the age of 
fourteen he went to the Leipsic Conservatory, where 
he studied under Zwintscher, Reinecke and Jadas- 
sohn, remaining under these masters for four years. 
Thereafter he went to Weimar, where he placed 
himself under the tuition of Stavenhagen, the well- 
known Liszt pupil. Although he had played all 
over Australia at the age of five as a child pianist, 
his mature debut was made in Berlin, 1894. After 
successful appearances abroad he came to America, 
where he was engaged for some time teaching at 
the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore and at 
Chautauqua, New York. He then returned to Ger- 
many, where he remained for some years teaching 
and playing. In America he has appeared with all 
of the leading orchestras and in a great number of 
recitals. 



UNIVERSALITY IN PIANO TEACHING 
METHODS 

ERNEST HUTCHESON 

THE NEED FOR PRACTICAL INSTRUCTION 
WHEN one contemplates the vast number of 
things that have been said about piano playing and 
piano study one is tempted to be silent upon the sub- 
ject, but as a matter of fact there is still a great 
deal that one may observe and a great deal that one 
may say. The tendency just now is away from 
theory, in piano pedagogical matters. People do 
not ask to know useless opinions upon piano technic, 
but rather prefer to find out how the best playing 
is done from actual observation. 

The need for practical instruction has in a way 
created a new class of piano teachers who do not 
write essays about what they intend to do, but who 
actually play and teach, and through their experi- 
ences evolve means of their own to fit particular 
needs. 

Leschetizky has been called the greatest piano 
teacher of the nineteenth century and this is no 
exaggeration. He was great because he was al- 
ways practical. He indicated certain methods for 
help in establishing the main priciples of elementary 

technic, but beyond that he was above methods. 
322 



UNIVERSALITY IN PIANO TEACHING METHODS 323 

TECHNIC REQUIRED 

Technic has always adapted itself to the need of 
the times and to the character of the instrument. 
In the early days of keyboard instruments the 
action and the music to be played made little de- 
mands upqn the strength of the player; accordingly, 
with the spinet we find that it was the custom to 
play with extended fingers, the motion coining prin- 
cipally from the nailjoint, and to avoid the thumbs. 
The spinet was a delicate instrument meant for deli- 
cate ears. It tinkled delightfully but had little 
sonority. A few modern chords would smash such 
an instrument. 

At the next step of the historical development of 
the instrument a newer and stronger technic came 
in vogue through the use of the harpsichord and 
early pianoforte, coincidently with the writings of 
Bach, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. 
Freer use of the thumb, a stronger finger-action 
(from the knuckle-joint, with curved fingers), and 
the hand-action from the wrist for staccato work 
characterize the progress of this period. 

Finally came the technic of Franz Liszt, and with 
it a piano of iron and steel frame, deepened touch 
and immensely magnified resources of tone. Again 
pianists modified their methods, the chief points of 
novelty being an arched position of the hand (to 
give greater scope to the finger-action), and the 
free use of the upper arm. 



324 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

Piano touch, however, is merely a necessary 
means of creating piano tone, and in considering 
the external movements of the arms and fingers 
it is all too easily possible to lose sight of their true 
object. 

After all, music is the art of the ear. It reaches 
the individual solely through that organ, and that 
being the case the first consideration of the pianist 
should be beautiful, varied and expressive tone. 

THE STUDY OF TONE 

The analysis of tone must be an ear analysis. 
No matter how carefully the student may have at- 
tended to all the outward technical directions re- 
garding hand position, fingers, etc., if the tone is 
not right his whole technic is faulty. I rarely 
watch the fingers of a pupil, nor indeed do I watch 
my own fingers very closely when playing, but I 
listen incessantly. If I hear a particular kind of 
tone I know that the elbow is stiff another kind 
might betray wobbly fingers, and so on. 

"One of the most common defects in the technic 
of the average pupil is lack of freedom in the upper 
arm. It is surprising what mischief can be brought 
about by a tightness of the muscles above the elbow. 
It prohibits a proper concentration of weight in the 
finger tips and infallibly hardens the tone in forte 
passages of all kinds, especially strong chords and 
octaves. Save for quite extraordinary effects, the 



UNIVERSALITY IN PIANO TEACHING METHODS 325 

whole playing mechanism except the nail-joints 
should be in a state of relaxation. 

It is important to observe that the physical free- 
dom of the player is directly communicated to the 
action of the instrument itself. The sensitiveness 
of the piano is, I am convinced, seldom realized by 
the student or the public. The tone of a piano is 
affected by cold or heat, by dampness or dryness of 
the air, by its acoustic surroundings, and not least 
by the physical expression of the player's mood. 
Treat a piano badly, and it will sulkily lock up its 
treasures of tone. Treat it lovingly and under- 
standingly, and it is one of the most responsive of 
instruments ; its harp of over two hundred strings, 
its great sounding board and frame, and its system 
of pedals are all susceptible to the minutest varia- 
tions of sound for musical purposes, to such a de- 
gree that very slight and apparently unimportant 
motions at the keyboard affect the tonal mass. 

THE SENSITIVENESS OF THE PIANO 
The sensitiveness of the piano, then, is one of 
the first things which should command the attention 
of the student. As long as he regards it as a kind 
of tub or as an anvil which may be drummed on or 
hammered at pleasure he will not secure musical 
results. On the other hand, respect for the instru- 
ment is no small step toward a better understand- 
ing and treatment of it. 



326 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

I am often asked why pianists move the wrist up 
and down after playing a note; it is agreed that 
nothing can be done to modify the tone when the 
key is held down. First, I answer, practically all 
pianists do it, therefore it is prima facie right and 
must have a meaning. Secondly, a tone undoubt- 
edly can be modified in many ways after its initial 
sounding, by pedalling, by 'Bebung' and echo ef- 
fects, and by this very oscillation of the wrist Just 
watch me for a moment while I do it and then 
watch that vase of flowers on the other end of the 
piano. You see that every rose nods its head in 
sympathy with my slight movements. That means 
that I am communicating vibration to the entire 
case of the piano and reinforcing the effect of the 
sounding board. Again, do you know that the 
thunderous, echoing roll of big chords in a great 
concert hall is largely caused by strong vibration 
imparted to the whole body of the piano by pedal 
action? Once more, are you aware that if one note 
is played with singing tone and another lightly, as 
in accompaniment, the hammers may seem to be- 
have differently after leaving the strings ? But now 
let us leave these instances of the delicacy of the 
instrument and return to technic. 

TYPICAL TOUCHES 

The student, in my opinion, should begin by 
mastering certain typical forms of touch which may 



UNIVERSALITY IN PIANO TEACHING METHODS 327 

at first be definitely associated with simple move- 
ments. These touches are what might be called the 
primary colors of piano playing and they should 
be understood by the player and intelligently ap- 
plied. I have often found the following table of 
great use to beginners: 

These, of course, are only the broadest of types, 
and I do not mean to say that a portamento cannot 
be executed by the fingers, or that the wrist takes 
no part in legato playing. A staccato, for instance, 
may be performed by finger-acticfti, by hand-action 
from the wrist, by movement of the wrist itself, by 
arm-action from the elbow or shoulders, or by com- 
bined action of finger and hand or hand and arm. 
In fact, an almost infinite variety of touch is 
possible, according to the tonal effect desired, and 
it is largely this which gives charm to expressive 
interpretation. Nevertheless, the three typical 
touches should first be studied and developed, not 
only in technical exercises but also in musical per- 
formance. The study of Mozart's Fantasias and 
Sonatas may be especially recommended in this 
connection. 

The extension of piano literature has made a 
giant technic necessary. Yet it is obviously im- 
possible to prepare for every difficulty which may 
occur in modern music. Teachers now realize that 
a command of certain technical formulae and ele- 
mentary principles opens the way to the more in- 



328 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

tricate problems. They know that technic is at 
best a means to an end. They consider how the 
exercises and scales are played rather than the mere 
task of playing them an infinite number of times. 
Any fool can play a five-finger exercise but it takes 
a wise man to adapt what he has learned from play- 
ing such an exercise to the uses of his interpretative 
work. 

It is surprising how certain pedagogical materials 
survive in the pianoforte study of today. Of 
course, new and excellent materials come from the 
printing presses all the time, but only the best sur- 
vives. Take the case of Czerny and Cramer. 
Teachers find themselves turning back to those able 
etude writers all the time. Czerny was a contem- 
porary of both Hummel and Steibelt and in their 
day Hummel and Steibelt were looked upon as the 
equals of Beethoven. Now their music is largely 
a memory but Czerny and Cramer are both used to 
this hour. 

So it is with scales and arpeggios. The wise 
teacher is the experienced teacher, and the exper- 
ienced teacher knows that a certain fluency and 
easiness and general intuitive intimacy with the key- 
board can be obtained through the use of these 
materials that cannot be obtained as easily in other 
ways. In other words, the pianist's mind has to be 
hitched up to the instrument so that he is able to do 
a great deal of his keyboard work without conscious 



UNIVERSALITY IN PIANO TEACHING METHODS 329 

effort. Drill in scale playing seems to accomplish 
this. Scales and arpeggios seem to do away with 
the incessant need for watching the keys and give 
the player a grasp upon the possibilities of his in- 
strument. There is really nothing like them for 
this purpose, and if they are not used some other 
much longer and much more circuitous path must 
be taken. Don't sniff at the man who swears by 
Cramer, Czerny, scales and arpeggios. He is dan- 
gerous only when his vision stops with these purely 
technical means to an end. 

Modern technic aims to free the player from me- 
chanical bonds so that his musical intuitions may 
be given the widest reign. The mind acts subcon- 
sciously to the great advantage of the student who 
has put the necessary technical work behind him in 
his race for musical success. I am told by a man 
who uses a typewriter constantly in his daily work, 
that the warning bell which indicates that the end 
of a line is reached, may ring a thousand times and 
not be noted audibly by the person operating the 
machine. Nevertheless the bell makes an impres- 
sion and the operator unconsciously or subcon- 
sciously obeys it and sends the carriage back for 
the beginning of a new line. This is illustrative of 
the many acts which the pianist must do and which 
becomes habitual. 

The human mind is not great enough to carry 
consciously more than a mere fraction of the many 



330 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

things which a pianist must remember in playing a 
complicated masterpiece. The mind must direct at 
all times, but its chief concern must be the artistic 
import of the passage and never the mechanical de- 
tails. All modern methods recognize this and seek 
to have these details accomplished by wisely planned 
technical drill This in a measure accounts for the 
great improvement in pianoforte playing in general 
during the last twenty-five years. 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXIII 

ERNEST HUTCHESON 

I. Why was Leschetizky regarded as the greatest 
piano teacher of the nineteenth century? 

z State the differences in the touch demanded by 
the spinet, the harpsichord and the piano, 

3. How must tone be analyzed? 

4. What is the effect of tightening the muscles 
above the elbow? 

5. What should the student know about the sen- 
sitiveness of the piano? 

6. How is the piano tone affected by pressure 
upon the keys after they have been struck? 

7. State the characteristic touches of the fingers, 
the hand and the arm. 



UNIVERSALITY IN PIANO TEACHING METHODS 331 

8. What is the value of scales and arpeggios in 
piano practice? 

9. State how the subconscious mind helps in piano 
study. 



I 



o $ 

^^4 Ml 

O A 

PI 



.s 



i 1 

j 

H 

& 





^ i 


^ 


$ 




^ 


2 


s 




* ^ 


^ 


fi 


1 


s v * 

!i! 


tned of their 
disconnected 


'S 


Q 


^ i ^ 


^ 


^ 








^ ^A 




iii 


II 


"* 8 

I 1 
*1 


o s 


^ 


Q 


Typical MoYcment 


I 


1 




I 
1 


I 


(\ 





( 


1 


k 


1 


1 


? 


K 


>s 


^ 


& 


^S 


8 




I 


^ 








V 







u 


a 


^ 


3 


Ql 


fj 


W 


a 


H 


du 


CO 


i 



n: 




OLGA SAMAROFF 



OLGA SAMAROFF 
BIOGRAPHICAL 

Olga Samaroff (Mrs, Leopold Stokowski) was born on 
August 8, 1882, in San Antonio, Texas. Her mother, the 
daughter of George Loening, a native of Bremen, Ger- 
many, was born in Munich but educated in America. Her 
father is of Holland Dutch extraction. Mme. Samaroff 
received her first instruction from her maternal grand- 
mother and mother, both fine musicians. At the age of 
fourteen she entered the Paris Conservatory, being, so far 
as^ the writer knows, the first American woman to be ad- 
mitted to the classes of that famous institution. After 
graduating from, the Paris Conservatory she studied with 
Jedliczka (a pupil of Rubinstein and Tschaikowsky) in Ber- 
lin. It may be mentioned that at various times Mme. 
Samaroff studied the piano for a short time under Con- 
stantin von Sternberg, Ludovic Breitner, Ernest Hutche- 
son, and the organ with Hugo Riemann. 
^In spite of^her serious studies and ever prominent pas- 
sion for music Mme. Samaroff did not intend to make a 
public career. It was not until January 18, 1905, that she 
made her first appearance on any stage, at Carnegie Hall 
in New York, with the New York Symphony Orchestra. 
Her success was so rapid that many concert-goers are 
under the impression that she has played for a much longer 
period. It was not until her success was thoroughly es- 
tablished in America that she played in Europe, and it 
is significant of the prestige which an American success 
now gives an artist that Mme. Samaroff at once obtained 
engagements with the leading orchestras in the cities 
where she played, and made her d#>wf in Paris, Vienna, 
London, Munich and elsewhere as soloist at the most im- 
portant orchestral concerts of those cities. 

After this single season in Europe and four seasons in 
America, Mme. SamarofFs career was interrupted by a 
very serious illness, which forced her to abandon all con- 
cert work for nearly four years. Three years ago she 
became the wife of Leopold Stokbwski, then conductor 
of the Cincinnati Orchestra, now filling the same position 
with the Philadelphia Orchestra. It may be added that 
the very Russian sounding name of Olga Samaroff is a 
nom de Plume name the name of Mme. SamarofFs ma- 
ternal great-grandmother, who was a Russian, 

833 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 

OLGA SAMAROFF 

THE subject of concentration in music study has 
been discussed so many times that it would seem 
well nigh impossible to say anything about it ap- 
proaching novelty. Yet concentration is a matter 
of such great consequence to all students, particu- 
larly music students, that there are few artists who 
would hesitate to place it at the very foundation of 
all serious work Successful concentration is a 
mental process attained only after much intellectual 
effort There is unfortunately a tendency among 
certain American students to look upon anything 
intellectual connected with music with more or less 
contempt, They do not hesitate to criticize certain 
great artists in such a way that one readily dis- 
covers that the students make "intellect" synonym- 
ous with inferiority. One realizes how absurd this 
is when one remembers that all higher musical work 
is based upon a development of the individual's in- 
tellectuality. 

The precious divine spark which the artist must 
keep flaring on his high altar is not to be dimmed 
by higher mental culture. But the emotional con- 
tent of the artist's interpretation will not be lessened 
because he uses his brain every second during his 

study hours, It is true that we often hear music per- 
334 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 335 

formed with a kind of technical coldness which 
many ascribe to a superior intellectual attitude the 
divine spark quite extinct. We can but say that 
the warmth of emotion, the fervor of interpreta- 
tive genius, never existed in the soul of the per- 
former. If it had, no amount of so-called "intel- 
lectual effort" would have done away with it The 
bete noir "intellect 1 ' has misled many a careless stu- 
dent who has imagined that by some mysterious 
process musical success will come to him without 
any special mental industry. I would in fact almost 
be inclined to say that while an intellectual "per- 
former" may lack the divine spark, the performer 
with the divine spark in the highest sense cannot 
be lacking in intellect, but on the contrary is one 
of the highest manifestations of the possibilities of 
intellectual achievement 

We have today, as there have been in the past, 
artists who have attained wide popularity through a 
certain instinctive musical quality such as that one 
often finds in the Italian and Slavic peasants. Their 
music seems to come to them apparently without 
study, as though they work entirely through the 
sub-conscious mind, Such musicians combine a 
certain amount of fire and natural breadth of tone, 
and, for want of a better term, "magnetism/' Of- 
ten such a musician succeeds in casting a spell over 
an audience, particularly an undiscriminating one. 
Such a performer was Blind Tom, a mere freak of 



336 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

nature. To my mind, however, these performers 
do not deserve to be seriously considered as artists. 
The truly great artist is one who not only possesses 
all the gifts which the natural performer may have, 
but who also combines these with intellectual 
breadth achieved through years of intelligent study 
and experience. 

MAKING ONE'S PRACTICE A THOUSANDFOLD MORE 
VALUABLE 

The student then should have a high regard for 
all intellectual work demanded by his music study, 
technical mastery, and all those faculties which 
make for a refined understanding of music consid- 
ered from the highest aspect Let us repeat to 
those who hesitate to consider the intellectual pro- 
cesses in their work if the flame of genius within 
the musician is so feeble that it could be extin- 
guished by the development and use of his grey 
matter it would scarcely in any case be capable of 
producing distinguished artistic results. Of all the 
intellectual processes none is more helpful to the 
student than concentration directing one's think- 
ing powers toward one thing and keeping them 
upon that thing until some definite purpose is ac- 
complished. The student should always fasten 
upon the conviction that whatever is his in the way 
of natural talent is there to remain. Concentration 
upon technical details will enhance the value of his 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 337 

natural talent a thousand fold. There are doubt- 
less hundreds of students now who are struggling 
along hopelessly because they do not know how to 
concentrate their forces. Why will some students 
persist in being so short-sighted in this particular? 
The playing of Bach demands concentration in a 
remarkable degree. Yet I have students come to 
me and say, "If I play Bach I shall not be able to 
play Chopin/* One might as well say, "If I read 
Shakespeare I shall not be able to read Maeter- 
linck." Can anyone imagine anything more ab- 
surd? The qualities which one develops through 
playing Bach are of incalculable benefit in playing 
Chopin. 

No PATENT RULES FOR CONCENTRATION 
By concentration the student must not imagine 
that I have any proprietary methods in mind. 
There are no patents, no rules, no schemes. What 
is needed is everyday common sense. Common 
sense ought to reveal to the average student that if 
he can play a passage once correctly he should be 
able to play it again and again correctly, if only he 
reproduces the same degree of concentration which 
insured perfection in the first case. That is to say, 
if the student's technical ability and musical under- 
standing encompass a passage in question once, it 
is largely a matter of mind control if the student 
succeeds in reproducing the passage without the 



338 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

customary needless and wastful repetitions through 
which so many students go before they seem to get 
results. Every time the passage you have selected 
for practice fails to "go right" after you have once 
succeeded in playing it to your satisfaction, just tell 
yourself that you are not concentrating. Some mis- 
guided young musicians seem to fail in realizing that 
in order to insure results one must invariably pre- 
serve that intimate connection between the brain and 
the fingers that spells concentration. They seem to 
think that they may dream away at the keyboard and 
let their blundering digits take care of themselves. 
Years of study are wasted in this way and the ears 
of students, to say nothing of others who are obliged 
to listen, are tortured by bungling practice that never 
in all the world can possibly lead to real success. 

The first mistake, like all first offences, is the be- 
ginning of the end unless the student takes great 
care to avoid such a custom. Mistake making in 
most cases is an entirely avoidable habit, often re- 
sulting from not checking the matter at the very 
start. If the student would only learn to stop the 
very moment that the first mistake is made and 
give himself a severe lecture on the lack of concen- 
tration he would stand a far better chance of ulti- 
mate success than if he blindly continued to conceal 
his blunders under that most deceptive of legends 
"Practice makes Perfect" Practice does make per- 
fect, it is true, but only right practice brought about 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 339 

by concentration can lead to the perfection which 
all young musicians aspire to attain. It is not lack 
of talent, not lack of opportunity, not lack of 
atmosphere which stands in the way of many stu- 
dents it is wool-gathering. In the olden time the 
shepherd boys used to run far and wide over the 
hills and dales for little clumps of wool left hang- 
ing on bushes. It was a task with slender profit 
that demanded thousands of steps for very little 
wool In some similar manner some pupils run 
through miles of scales, arpeggios and finger pas- 
sages in order to get very little out of them. The 
successful performer has not time for this wasteful 
practice. He must get his results with as few 
wasted notes as possible. 

A FAMOUS ACTOR'S POWER OF CONCENTRATION 
This does not mean, however, that numerous re- 
pititions are undesirable or unnecessary. I recollect 
a story told to me by an old friend, Ernest Coquelin, 
the famous French actor, which illustrates how a 
great artist, even in another branch of interpreta- 
tive art, realizes the necessity for concentration 
upon detail. In the play of "Thermidor," in which 
Coquelin gave a really marvelous performance, 
there was a little passage in which he was obliged 
to get up and walk around a chair. All the while 
he was obliged to signify the dawning realization 
of a great danger. Coquelin told me that in order 



340 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

to master the ways and means leading to an im- 
pressive theatrical effect that the audience would at 
once perceive and comprehend, he once practiced 
the little bit some two hundred times. With every 
repetition he became more and more absorbed, so 
that he entirely forgot everything else. Not only 
did several important engagements escape his mind, 
but he also failed to remember that he was to take 
a certain train for the south of France, where he 
was engaged to appear, thus losing his last chance 
for a lucrative performance. It seems needless to 
say that all those who saw his performance were 
especially impressed by this particular passage. 

To the artist who has once gained complete con- 
trol of himself and his medium there is such a thing 
as a sub-conscious governing or directing by the 
mind which gives him sureness and a kind of 
technical liberty, permitting his imagination to have 
the freest possible play. But this sub-conscious 
governing of our work comes only with the com- 
plete control resulting from years and years of 
right practice habits at the keyboard. Most of the 
problems confronting the average student and per- 
former may be solved by the kind of concentrated 
thinking which comes through the habit of collect- 
ing one's thoughts and focusing them upon one 
point until something is actually accomplished. 

In preparing a passage for public performance 
the student should endeavor to keep in mind the 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 34! 

ultimate manner in which the passage will be per- 
formed. That is to say, he will gain nothing by 
practicing the passage in any other way. The idea 
surprisingly advocated by some otherwise fine 
teachers of always practicing things as they are not 
to be played eventually, has always struck me as 
preposterous. Some teachers tell their pupils to 
disregard the phrasing, the pedaling, the expression 
marks, etc. It is easy to see how the student can, 
by giving special attention to any one of these 
phases of his playing through concentration de- 
velop that phase, but at the same time he must 
realize that in playing a single measure he is called 
upon not to do one thing only, but to control many 
different things all occurring at the same instant 
That is one of the things that makes music study 
so fascinating. The mind is given one short mo- 
ment to perform a number of different actions and 
these must be executed with perfection of digital 
detail, fine appreciation of artistic values and cor- 
respondence with the rest of the composition. The 
artist with the brush may stand before his easel 
for months, painting, painting, painting, erasing 
one color here and supplying a line there, but he 
has all eternity in which to complete his task if he 
chooses to take it The canvas of the interpreta- 
tive musician is the attention of his listener. He 
paints at a miracuously rapid rate and his mind 
must be trained to think with a speed demanded in 



342 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

no other art except perhaps that of the stage. This 
in itself should emphasize the necessity for concen- 
tration in study so that the student will realize how 
very vital it is to his progress. 

I find pupils who will completely learn and pro- 
duce the notes of a work and expect by some mys- 
terious means to be able to supply all the fine points 
of phrasing, accenting, pedaling and correct tempo, 
at the moment of playing, without any detailed con- 
centration upon these matters before the hour of 
the concert. Before the student permits his work 
to reach the ears of the auditor he must have studied 
it not only in all its parts but he must have played 
it many, many times just as he expects to play it on 
the evening of its ultimate performance. He must 
concentrate upon his work so that he can sit at the 
keyboard with supreme confidence and paint a tonal 
picture that will leave a permanent artistic impres- 
sion upon the mind of the hearer. If the student 
would only keep before him the fact that he has 
such a very short time in which to create a master 
work in interpretation, he will surely see that he 
can not afford to waste any moments during his 
practice periods in wool-gathering, 

DON'T TRY To Do Too MUCH AT ONCE 
Some students attempt to learn a whole composi- 
tion at one time. This usually results in a succes- 
sion of disasters. The student works prodigiously 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 



343 



and produces nothing. For instance, in the Bee- 
thoven Sonata in D Minor (Opus 31, No. 2), there 
are 232 measures in the first movement The right 
way to proceed after a general idea of the move- 
ment has been obtained through a cursory survey of 
the piece is to take, let us say eight measures. In 
this case we will take the first eight measures which 
appear thus: 



Largo f J = UM^ = 88) Allegro ( J * tos) 




t .V* ? T ml* 




Very simple you will say, but let us make a little 
catalog of the things you must observe in this little 
passage which takes only a few seconds to play, 
Considering them in order we must learn; 



344 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

Seventy-three notes. 

Thirteen marks of phrasing. 

Three marks of tempo. 

Three important pedaling marks. 

Sixteen marks indicating a certain kind of touch. 

Nine marks pertaining to dynamics (cres., sf., 

etc.). 

Twenty-three fingerings specified by some pains- 
taking editor. 

Two significant pauses. 

An embellishment which must be properly inter- 
preted. And all in eight measures! Yet the stu- 
dent has only skimmed over the surface of the 
measures. He must study the nature of the phras- 
ing not indicated in the phrasing marks; he must 
know how the opening arpeggio is to be played ; he 
must note the extent of the main theme before the 
second theme is introduced ; in fact there are many 
things yet to be considered in this little passage of 
eight measures. Some people have the gift of ob- 
serving, comprehending and fixing these technical 
and artistic points so that they are able to do the 
work in a much shorter time. These people are 
those who have learned to concentrate. 

How CONCENTRATION" HELPS MEMORIZING 
Concentration helps immensely in memorizing 
indeed it hardly seems necessary to mention this 
very obvious fact. One little device I have em- 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 



345 



ployed in memorizing may be of assistance to the 
student. In studying a new phrase with the view 
to fixing it in the mind one should not merely study 
the phrase alone but also part of the preceding 
phrase. The actor in studying his parts lays great 
stress upon his cues. He learns the last words of 
the previous speech so that the moment he hears 
them his own lines come out automatically that is 
without apparent thought or effort. In memoriz- 
ing, I apply a similar method which seems to help 
me immensely in works of a complicated nature. 
In studying a new phrase I always commence in the 
middle of the previous phrase. For instance, in 
a section of the sonata to which we have just re- 
ferred we find these two phrases: 




In memorizing the second phrase I would prac- 
tice it as follows: 



346 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 




ULl J ----s 
*=-* ^ . it 1 : 



T f 



This gives to the musical memory the same as- 
sistance upon which the actor depends for his se- 
curity in reciting his lines on the stage. 

A great deal may be gained by watching the 
fingers on the keyboard. Of course this refers only 
to the work of the pianist playing from memory. 
It may be necessary at the outstart for the student 
to practice with his eyes away from the keyboard, 
but after the student has gained a sense of location 
he will find that his eyes will help him immensely 
in preserving accuracy. One famous virtuoso, one 
of the very greatest, always keeps his eyes upon the 
keys. The superficial student might think that this 
would make the playing of the virtuoso stilted, and 
lacking in the abandon of the old type of pianist, 
who focused his eyes on the ceiling, and his fingers 
on the wrong notes. However, there is something 
in the attraction of the keyboard that becomes al- 
most hypnotic and the eye learns to help make the 
playing more definite, more dependable, while at 
the same time the poet interpreter's imagination is 
not robbed of any of its phantasy. 

It is gratifying to note that American artists are 
gaining more and more recognition in their own 



CONCENTRATION IN MUSIC STUDY 347 

land. No symbol of our musical progress could be 
more wholesome and the American's ability to focus 
his efforts upon the business at hand has had much 
to do with this change in public musical apprecia- 
tion. 



QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXIV 

OLGA SAMAROFF 

1. What qualities must the truly great artist 
possess ? 

2. Which composer's works demand a superior 
degree of concentration? 

3. What is usually the trouble when passages fail 
to go right? 

4. State one way in which the work of the painter 
differs from that of the pianist. 

5. Give a good way of classifying difficulties. 

6. How does concentration help the student to 
memorize ? 

7. Should the pianist watch the fingers at the 
keyboard? 



MARK HAMBOURG 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Mark Hambcmrg is a member of a very musical 
family. His father, Michael Hambourg, is himself 
a noted teacher; his brother Boris is a 'cellist of re- 
nown, while another brother of Mark is the brilliant 
violinist, Jan Hambourg. Mark Hambourg was 
born at Bogutchar, Southern Russia, June 1st, 1879. 
At first the pupil of his father, he became the pupil 
of Leschetizky at the age of twelve. As a prodigy 
he made numerous very successful appearances, but 
his parents wisely foresaw the necessity of develop- 
ing his general education until he became a mature 
artist. Accordingly he was withdrawn from public 
work for many years, but since then he has toured 
all of the civilized countries, meeting with great 
success. In 1907 he married Dorothea, daughter 
of Sir Kenneth Muir Mackenzie, G. C B., Perma- 
nent Clerk to the House of Lords. 



348 




I 'A 




MARK HAMBOURG 



INSURING PROGRESS IN MUSIC STUDY 

MARK HAMBOURG 

IN these days of dreadnaught technique, when 
the modern pianist must have an equipment as 
powerful and as invulnerable as a battleship, to 
ward off the projectiles of the critical public and 
press, there is so very much to be accomplished that 
not a moment's time must be lost if the career of 
the virtuoso is chosen as a life work. The standard 
of playing has become high because one part of 
the public has been educated to expect perfection 
and because another part has a really well developed 
appreciation of what is and what is not good taste 
in interpretation. Therefore it may easily be seen 
that the career of the virtuoso is becoming more 
and more exacting as time goes on. Think for a 
moment of the immense number of pieces with 
which the successful pianist must be familiar to say 
nothing of those which he must have at his finger's 
ends his repertoire. Nowadays one must have a 
veritable library not on one's bookshelves but in 
one's head, In what other profession are such 
enormous demands made upon the memory alone? 
The work before the student, then, is staggering in 
its aspects. No wonder many are discouraged be^ 
fore they have traveled more than a short distance 

along the road. If real progress is to be insured 

349 



350 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

no time at all can be wasted* The need for expert 
instruction in the case of the student expecting to 
become a virtuoso is really very great. A poor 
teacher wastes not only time but that more scarce 
if not more valuable commodity, money. The good 
teacher uses only what is needed in each particular 
case; and thus the pupil is not weighted down with 
a vast amount of unnecessary luggage. 

ESSENTIALS THAT COUNT 
Great erudition and great keyboard skill never 
make a successful teacher unless there is that pre- 
cious gift for divining just what is right at the right 
time. Common sense in little things in teaching is 
far better than a complicated view of musical com- 
plexities. For instance, the pupil should learn at 
the outstart that he has four main channels through 
which his musical training may be brought to him, 
namely 

Visual 
Aural 
Harmonic 
Mechanical 

That is, he must use his eyes to fix in his mind 
everything that can be determined by the eye. 
Nothing on the printed page must escape him 
nothing in hand, arm and body position must elude 
the close scrutiny of his eyes. His eyes must be 



INSURING PROGRESS IN MUSIC STUDY 35 1 

like two ever-present teachers making every hour 
of practice an instructive hour and nothing but an 
instructive hour. His ears are likewise teachers, 
and when the aural sense is so developed that he can 
hear music when he sees it, as though it was being 
played and enjoy it with the same ease with which 
he reads a book, he is to be congratulated. By syn- 
chronizing as it were the visual sense and the aural 
sense a vast amount of waste time may be saved. 
Yet thousands struggle with the keyboard for years 
and never acquire this sense. 

Next, the student must understand the family of 
chords and know how they are related. Practice 
in harmony should be as regular as practice in key- 
board exercises. The brain must have a kind of 
harmonic technic. The reason why I emphasize 
this is simply because with such a technic the stu- 
dent can save hours of silly finger dawdling at the 
keys hours that never produce anything but cal- 
loused finger tips. 

Finally, we have the mechanical, which, indispen- 
sable as it is, sometimes results in excesses alto- 
gether unwarranted, Please do not think that I 
am trying to say anything so stupid as declaring 
that keyboard practice and lots of it is not neces- 
sary. Quite the contrary is true. What I am try- 
ing to point out is that it is not the time that one 
spends at the keyboard that counts but what is 
brought to the keyboard by the brain of the pupil, 



352 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

and how the time is spent at the keyboard. I do 
my best practice away from the keyboard. That is, 
I work out the musical problems and get them 
straight in my mind so that no time is lost in fumb- 
ling over keys. 

A CONVINCING ILLUSTRATION 
In order to point out very clearly what I mean 
when I say that it is what is done at the keyboard 
rather than how much time is spent there that 
really counts, one need not go any further than the 
case of the child prodigy. Here we have an in- 
stance where there has not been time for an enorm- 
ous amount of practice yet there are continually 
brought before the public children of ten, eleven 
and twelve with astonishing technical ability. In 
my own case I remember very well that my father, 
a very busy man, let me have as a first teacher one 
of his own pupils who was gifted in playing rather 
than teaching. This was a well meaning person of 
eighteen or twenty who took a perfunctory interest 
in teaching, but did not do everything possible to 
advance me. Consequently, I came to hate my 
music lessons and detested practice. This hate be- 
came so violent that I remember as a very little tot 
running splinters into my fingers to prevent taking 
a music lesson. My father was quick to note my 
attitude and soon took me in hand himself. He 
was a natural born teacher who loved children, and 



INSURING PROGRESS IN MUSIC STUDY 353 

inside of a few weeks my enthusiasm was so great 
that it was difficult to keep me away from the piano. 
In a little more than a year I acquired a technic 
which seems surprising to me at this day. In a 
very short time I was considered ready to make a 
public appearance and soon found myself before 
the public playing in many cities with success. 
Obviously, it was not years that gave me that 
technic but a well-planned course carefully worked 
out and filled full of that priceless enthusiasm with- 
out which musical success is unthinkable. My 
father's logical explanations instead of dogmatic di- 
rections gave me delight in everything I did. In no 
other way could I have been enabled to play with 
orchestra at the age of eight. Ordinary instruction 
was carrying me farther and farther away from 
the right path. MORAL: Have as good a teacher 
as you can possibly secure and afford. It always 
pays in the end. 

How REFLECTION SAVES TIME 
In studying a new piece, experience has shown 
me that it is possible to save a great deal of time 
through reflection. First I play the piece through 
carefully to hear how it sounds. Then I analyze it 
carefully down to its finest points. This serves to 
fix the piece in the mind and saves hours of prac- 
tice drudgery. Then comes the practice itself which 
is followed by a period of reflection. During this 



354 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

period of reflection the piece is, as it were, digested 
musically. It is only by some such process that the 
student can really be said to master a work. The 
great trouble is that the fingers are magnified in 
their importance and the brain is minimized. 

Teachers seem to fail to realize that pupils have 
brains, and that these brains must be directed as 
carefully in music as in any educational work. More 
"talents" have been ruined by failing to consider 
the brain side of the work than in any other way. 
In no other art but music is anybody and everybody 
permitted to teach. To preserve the talent of the 
child and insure regular progress, by all means se- 
cure a good teacher at the start Forget about the 
method that the teacher teaches and see that you 
get the right individual. Of -course, the work must 
be methodical but it need not be somebody's patent 
plan that is supposed to apply in all cases with magic 
precision. With all other thinking pianists, Les- 
chetizky included, I am emphatically against the 
proprietary method idea in music study. A poor 
teacher with the best method in the world could not 
produce good results. To paraphrase a line of 
Shakespeare "The teacher's the thing/' and by this 
I mean the individual. To hold to a weak teacher 
with a much advertised method would be like re- 
taining an incompetent doctor in a dangerous case 
just because he was a homeopathist, an allopath 
or a Christian Scientist The main thing is to get 



INSURING PROGRESS IN MUSIC STUDY 355 

the right individual who has repeatedly shown his 
efficiency so that there can be no mistaking his 
claims. Let proprietary methods go to the wind. 
All really good teachers use much from many, many 
different methods. 

ADVANCED WORK 

Naturally the pupil must expect to work with a 
teacher who will criticize his efforts with relentless 
severity, if he expects his advanced work to be 
profitable. Anyone who has faced the fire of 
Leschetizky has always realized that after this ex- 
perience one was ready to face almost anything. 
Nothing could have been more exacting than the de- 
mands of Leschetizky. Yet everything he said was 
tempered with such good common sense, and often 
with biting wit, that part of the sting was taken 
away. While with him I always tried to create op- 
portunities to play. Every week I learned a new 
piece and it seemed as though Leschetizky was 
equally caustic with each one. There is no way in 
which the aspiring young student who hopes to be- 
come a virtuoso can go ahead faster than by playing 
a great deal for different people who are frank 
enough to speak out their minds and who are in- 
telligent and experienced enough to give criticisms 
of value. In other words these beneficent critics by 
their constant pounding enable the student to get 
new angles of vision upon his own work. 



356 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

CRITICS WHO HELP 

No one is a better critic than the fellow pupil. 
Often he sees things which the teacher does not. I 
value the criticisms of my fellow artists very highly. 
In an assembly of pupils, however, where rivalry 
runs high and tongues are loosened by good-natured 
familiarity, criticisms of real worth are bound to be 
received. It is next to useless for the pianist to 
play before his so-called friends. The pupils' re- 
cital before smiling perfumed audiences of parents, 
aunts, brothers and admirers are usually misleading 
as far as their educational effect is concerned. They 
may have some value in accustoming the pupil to 
public appearance and exhibiting the teacher's work 
but they are likely to be wholly misleading to the 
pupil. The studios are filled with somewhat ghastly 
examples of young people who have been cajoled 
into believing that they have already made quite a 
respectable climb up Parnassus, when they have 
really not touched the foot hills. Flattery is the 
bomb that demolishes more honest effort than any- 
thing else. 

Criticism that is well meant is easily detected 
from that which is merely empty praise or on the 
other hand stupid fault-finding. During all the 
time I was with Leschetlzky, standing up under a 
bombardment of criticisms, I knew that he had only 
my good at heart When he came to me as I was 
about to start upon my career as an artist he had 



INSURING PROGRESS IN MUSIC STUDY 357 

a box in his hand. In that box he had deposited 
every coin I had paid him for my lessons. Not one 
was missing. He knew that I had a struggle ahead 
of me to get a start and he offered me back every 
Heller I had ever given him. Such a man was 
Leschetizky! 

SINCERITY 

What is the virtuoso's most indispensable attri- 
bute? I should say "sincerity." If the artist is 
not sincere he is nothing more than a showman. 
Every time he goes to the platform he should go 
with a message. If this spirit is cultivated during 
the student days all the better. The public has a 
right to expect sincerity from the artist. If the 
artist falls before the blandishments of the public, 
and plays merely to catch pennies, he will surely 
suffer in the long run. The public now is too highly 
educated not to distinguish clap-trap. The student 
should be encouraged to approach every piece with 
all possible sincerity and earnestness. Do not think 
that anything that Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schu- 
mann or Chopin has seen fit to write is too little to 
deserve your very best Be sincere in all you do 
and your art will advance finely. 

TASTE IN THE ARTIST'S WORK 
The artist should unceasingly strive to get down 
to his own ideas find out what he himself really 



358 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

thinks. Someone has said that we continually think 
the thoughts of other people because we are too lazy 
to think our own. Of course the public has certain 
natural and human appetites which no virtuoso is 
foolish enough altogether to disregard, yet every 
program should be representative of the artist's in- 
dividual character. This does not mean that he 
should emphasize his whims or exaggerate his per- 
sonal prejudices but with all good sense he should 
strive to have every program he presents be him- 
self in person and not some model after whom all 
others are foolishly copying. 

Program-making is a distinctive art. It is con- 
ceivable that an artist who makes no effort to have 
his personal taste represented in his programs but 
who simply follows the conventions of another day 
may so stultify his work that progress would be im- 
possible. In the olden days at the Leipsic Conserva- 
tory conventions were so strictly defined that Liszt 
and Chopin were practically debarred from many 
programs; and Liszt, to this day, from the Hoch- 
schule in Berlin! Conventions, then, should not be 
the main factor in making a good program. There 
are certain intellectual needs of a musical kind, as 
well as emotional demands, and these should be con- 
sidered above all things. For instance, in consider- 
ing variety the performer is often inclined to let it 
go with a variety of different names upon the pro- 
gram, whereas the main consideration is the variety 



INSURING PROGRESS IN MUSIC STUDY 359 

which should come to the ear of the audience. Even 
leaving out of consideration those members of the 
audience who are ignorant of the significance of 
the names of great masters, there are still those 
musically trained people who are quite as human in 
their aural appetites and who will respond to a well 
ordered program and reject a poorly arranged pro- 
gram. Of course the virtuoso has to play a number 
of works which a certain portion of the musical 
public wants to hear. As a rule such works are 
those with which the public already has some 
familiarity or those by composers sufficiently dis- 
cussed in print to have aroused a real curiosity to 
become acquainted with the compositions. After 
these considerations, the next would be variety in 
keys and modes, and then variety in forms. Who 
in the world would want to listen to three sym- 
phonies in G Major, one right after the other? 
Variety may be obtained from pieces in markedly 
different rhythms and metres. Certain pianists 
have, of course, given historical recitals, at which 
for instance have been performed a long series of 
Beethoven Sonatas. These have an educational 
value for the student and the professional, but with 
the general public six Beethoven Sonatas one right 
after the other would be like eating six big beef- 
steaks at one meal ! The following would in many 
ways comply with the conditions which go to make 
a varied high-class program of the present day. 



360 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 



Note the constant change of key. It is neither the 
conventional "historical" program, nor is it ec- 
centric, 

SPECIAL PROGRAM 



KEY 

F. Major J. S. BACH 



Italian Concerto 



L. VAN BEETHOVEN Sonata, Op Io6 or in 



CJ Minor F. CHOPIN 

E Major 
A Minor 
CJt Minor 
Ft Major 
B b Minor 
A Minor 
F J Minor 



E Major } M. RAVEL 
Eh Minor CYIIL SCOTT 

M. MOSZKOWSKI 



DEBUSSY 



II 
Scherzo 

Etude (No. 10) 

Etude (No a) 

Etude (No 4) 

Prelude 

Prelude 

Mazurka 

Polonaise 

III 

Jeud'Eaux 
Lotos Land 
Venusberg music from 
Tannhavser arranged 
from Wagner. 
Suite 



CHARACTER 

Representing 
the severely 
classical style 



Romantic and 

Brilliant, 

Slow Melodic 

Playful 

Brilliant 

Slow 

Rapid 

Reflective 

Magnificent 



Atmospheric 
Atmospheric 



Dramatic 
Characteristic 



Of course this is only one of a great many dif- 
ferent programs which would exhibit equal variety. 
There is so much to choose from that there is no 
need for monotony at any time. Of the new things 
of the above program, the Venusberg arrangement 
which Moszkowski has been good enough io dedi- 
cate to me is one of the most difficult pieces ever 
written for the piano. It is filled with the genius 
and fire of the original orchestral score and makes 



INSURING PROGRESS IN MUSIC STUDY 361 

a fine number for the antepenult position on the 
program. Also it will be noticed that I finish the 
program with the Debussy suite. Time was when 
it seemed 1 the custom to end the program with a 
kind of musical shock which consisted of bringing 
forward the player's most brilliant exhibition of 
bravura work, his tour de force as it were. This, 
however, is not altogether an artistic arrangement. 
In the good drama the climax is not reserved for 
the last curtain but usually comes at some previous 
moment Consequently such a number as the De- 
bussy after the gorgeous Moszkowski-Wagner num- 
ber makes a better program. The artist who bar- 
ters his art for easy ways to get applause must 
inevitably fall in the opinion of thinking people. 

THE TEACHER'S OPPORTUNITY 
Those who have realized their hopes of becoming 
great virtuosos often find at the end of the journey 
that their goal was by no means what they had an- 
ticipated. The work is hard, unceasingly hard, and 
though the emoluments are frequently great, all 
human happiness is largely a matter of compara- 
tive degrees of satisfaction. The teacher who has 
not the fame and the income of the virtuoso also 
does not have the terrific strain, the disappoint- 
ments, the gruelling criticism. Whether it is better 
to be the oak battling with the hurricane or the 
lovely rose in a pleasant shelterd garden must be 



362 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

decided by the individual starting out upon a career. 
To my mind it is far better to be one live, active, 
helpful teacher than two struggling, impotent, un- 
successful virtuosi. The teaching field is enormous. 
The virtuoso field is very small. Do not belittle 
the work of the teacher. It is upon the teacher's 
shoulders that civilization advances. If you are a 
teacher, be proud of it rejoice in it, for there is 
no nobler occupation. 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXV 

MARK HAMBOURG 

1. What are the four channels through which 
musical training comes to the pupil? 

2. What is the chief value of harmony to the 
piano student? 

3. Through what may much time be saved in the 
study of a new piece? 

4. State an indispensable attribute of the vir- 
tuoso. 

5. What should be the main factor in making a 
good recital program? 

6. State how variety may be obtained in a pro- 
gram. 

7. Compare the teacher's career with that of the 
virtuoso. 




PERCY GRAINGER 



PERCY GRAINGER 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Mr. Grainger was born at Brighton, Melbourne, Au- 
stralia, July 8, 1882. His mother was his first teacher. 
Thereafter he studied with Louis Pabst of Melbourne. 
He then set out to earn the means of travel to Germany 
and after several highly successful recitals and a large ben- 
efit concert, organized by Australia's greatest musician and 
composer, Professor Marshall Hall, had his wish gratified. 
In Germany he studied for six years with Professor James 
Kwast, and finally with the great Busoni. In 1900 he ap- 
peared in London as a virtuoso, and at once scored great 
successes. Thereafter he toured Great Britain, Australia, 
New Zealand, South Africa, and more recently Germany, 
Holland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Bohemia and 
Switzerland. His fondness for things Scandinavian began 
as a child, and was beautifully rewarded by Grieg's ad- 
miration for the young Australian, about whom he wrote 
enthusiastically and prophetically in the European press, 
and whom he chose to play his Pianoforte Concerto at the 
great Leeds Musical Festival. After Grieg's death the 
widow of the Norwegian genius sent his walch and chain 
to Mr. Grainger as a souvenir of Grieg's affectionate 
friendship for him. Mr. Grainger's reverent admiration 
for Grieg's adaptations of Norwegian folk-music prompted 
him to explore the beauties of British folk-songs, as Grieg 
had done those of Norway. The result has been that Mr. 
Grainger has made vocal and pianoforte arrangements of 
many of these pieces arrangements altogether unique in 
their charm and appropriateness. In 1914 Mr. Grainger 
came to this country, primarily for the purpose of com- 
pleting some large orchestral and choral compositions al- 
ready begun. But his great musical gifts were soon dis- 
covered, especially his talents as a piano virtuoso, and he 
found himself in great demand as a concert pianist, ap- 
pearing with many of the Symphony Orchestras. At the 
same time, his compositions were more and more fre- 
quently placed on orchestral programs. 



363 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 

PERCY GRAINGER 

NEW EFFORTS WITH OLD MEANS 
JUST at the moment when the musical pessimists 
were declaring that pianistic resources were coming 
to an end, we find ourselves on the doorstep of new 
forms of pianism, which, while they in no sense do 
away with the old means of interpretation, aid the 
pianist in bringing new effects even to the master- 
pieces of yesterday. It is interesting to think that 
with the advance of the art one's resources become 
more and more refined. Twenty years ago the 
whole aim of many pianoforte students seemed to 
be speed or the art of getting just as many notes as 
possible in a given space of time. With the com- 
ing of such composers as Debussy, Cyril Scott, 
Ravel and others, we find a grateful return of the 
delicate and refined in piano playing. There is a 
coming up again of the pianissimo. More and more 
artists are beginning to realize the potency of soft 
notes rightly shaded and delivered artistically. 

The modern composer has a new reverence for 
the piano as an instrument. The great composers, 
such as Bach and Beethoven, thought of the piano 
as a medium for all-round expression; but perhaps 
they did not so often feel inspired by Its specifically 
pianistic attributes as do several of the moderns. 
Many of the Beethoven Sonatas could be orches- 

864 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 365 

trated and a symphonic effect produced. In other 
words, the magnificent thoughts of most of the great 
masters of the past were rarely peculiarly pianistic, 
though Scarlatti, Chopin, and 1 Liszt in their day 
(just as Debussy, Albenez, Ravel and Cyril Scott 
today) divined the soul of the piano and made the 
instrument speak its own native tongue. 

THE MODERN PIANO A PERCUSSION 

INSTRUMENT 

Indeed the real nature of the modern piano as an 
instrument is in itself more or less of a modern 
discovery. No one would be altogether satisfied by 
trumpet passages played upon a violin, because the 
violin and the trumpet have characteristics which 
individualize them. In precisely the same fashion 
the piano has individual characteristics. The piano 
is distinctly an instrument of percussion a beating 
of felt-covered hammers upon tightened wires. 
Once we realize this, a great deal may be learned. 
Debussy has retained in his pianistic vocabulary 
many of the beautiful kaleidoscopic effects a gifted 
child strumming upon the piano would produce, 
but which our overtrained ears might have rejected 
in the past. Thus his methods have implied a study 
of the problem of just how much dissonance can 
be artistically applied and yet keep his work within 
the bounds of the beautiful. It has been said that 
Debussy learned much from a Javanese instrument 



366 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 



called a Gamalan. This instrument is a kind of 
orchestra of gongs. I have been told that when 
the players from the far East performed at one 
of the Paris expositions, Debussy was greatly at- 
tracted by their music, and lingered long near them 
to note the enchanting effect of the harmonics from 
the bells. There can be no doubt that he sought to 
reproduce such an effect on that other instrument of 
percussion, the piano, when he wrote his exquisite 
Reflets dans I'eau, and the following significant 
measures in Pagodes: 



No. I. 




MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 367 




In all gong effects we hear one note louder than 
the surrounding "aura" of ethereal harmonies. 
This suggests many new and delightful effects upon 
the piano, for all the past pianists have been ac- 
customed to playing all the notes of a chord, for 
instance, with more or less the same degree of force. 
It seldom seemed to occur to the average piano 
student that it is possible to play chords in succes- 
sion and at the same time bring out some inner 
voice so that the whole effect is delightfully altered. 

Indeed, we are coming to a day when the pianist 
will more and more be expected to play melodies 
concealed in masses of chords. Busoni in his edi- 
tion of the Bach Chorals (Breitkopf & Haertel, 
Volksansgafo, No, 1916) gives us a splendid in- 
stance of an inner voice carrying the melody in the 
Nun freut euch, Helm Christen (No. 4), The fol- 
lowing measures serve to illustrate this- Any one 
who has hearcl Mr. Busoni play this will find it 
difficult to forget the clear sonority with which he 



368 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 




plays the melody and how delicate and exquisitely 
subdued is the lace-like embroidery which surrounds 
the melody. 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 369 

In playing chords so that one note may stand out 
above the others we confront what many seem to 
think is a really difficult task, but as a matter of 
fact it is not. It is a habit easily acquired. 

What is the need for ever making a note in a 
chord stand out above its fellows? In all good 
part-writing, whether for the piano or other instru- 
ments or for voices, each voice in a sequence of 
chords has some melodic value. Many voices have 
a distinctive melodic value. In the orchestra or in 
a quartet of strings or of human voices each part 
has a certain tone color which gives it individuality 
and distinguishes it from the other parts. But on 
the piano we have no such contrasting tone colors 
or lone qualities to work with. What in the or- 
chestra, for instance, is accomplished largely by 
contrasts of qmlity we on the piano must accom- 
plish by contrasts of quantity, or different sound 
strengths. Don't you see that the only recourse is 
to individualize the melody in an internal voice by 
making that melody louder, or by subduing the 
other notes in the chords? It is quite possible to 
play a chord in the following fashion: 



No. 3. 




370 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 



That is, the E flat is loud and the D flat and B 
flat are soft. Nothing is simpler. My own method 
is to hold my fingers rigidly; with the second finger, 
which would play the E flat, protruding downwards, 
while the thumb and fifth finger, which are to play 
the D flat and B flat, are kept high, so that the force 
of the blow descends on to the E flat key (which is 
pressed down as far as it will go), while the other 
two keys are only lightly struck (and pressed down 
only one-third or one-half of the tonal distance they 
could descend). 

This opens up interesting vistas even yet not fully 
explored. It would be more profitable for many 
of our students to spend a little more time upon the 
quality of effects and a little less time in trying to 
clamber over an immense amount of technic work. 
Playing two such chords as the following in the 
manner indicated requires an amount of thought, 
hand control, far in excess of that demanded by 
many supposedly difficult technical exercises. 

No. 4. 



mf 



-MS? 




li 



-J3t 

IS! 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 



371 



AN INTERESTING ARTISTIC APPLICATION 
It is possible to show how this plan of bringing 
out the middle voice may be employed by quoting 
my pianistic setting of the lovely Irish Tune from 
County Deny. The melody is believed to be very 
old and was collected by Miss J. Ross, of Limavady, 
County Derry, and the melody was first published 
in the Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of 
Ireland. It is a tune very susceptible to modern 
harmonic treatment, and if the student will play 
the first measures with the method of bringing out 
the melody notes in the inner part as we have de- 
scribed it, he will see that very rare effects may be 
produced, 

No* 5t Slowish, but not dragged, and wayward in time. 

M, M, ^ '* between 72 and 104. 
Rvbdo H fempo, e no* troppo lento. 




Eightlidt f up -}-}.- ;h-'rr-*r 
WiL Uownl l/UL_l/i iA-lLJ-J/l 



GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 



..f\ 




_IHlO A JTO ^ sA*A ;A:A JA 

NEW EFFECTS WITH THE PEDAL 
Modern pianism has brought into vogue certain 
pedal effects which were only employed by the most 
iconoclastic a few decades ago. A very striking 
effect of diminuendo, for instance, can be produced 
by what I call "half -pedaling." The problem is to 
melt from forte to pianissimo through the use of 
the pedal. By 'Tialf-pedaling" I mean repeatedly 
lifting up the damper pedal just so high that the 
dampers only partially arrest the vibrations of the 
strings, thereby accomplishing a gradual diminu- 
endo. In the following three last measures of my 
Colonial Song for piano the notes marked with 
stars are gradually melted away by this process in 
the second bar of the example, though this is not 
the case with the other six notes, the keys of which 
are pressed down silently before the half-pedaling 
begins, so their dampers are not affected by the 
movements of the damper pedal These six notes 
are thus heard vibrating on to the very end of the 
piece. 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 



373 



^ o 

cr* 

o S 
3 to 



o . 



^3 



o o 

Cu -* 

2-e 
-S. 



f 



li 

5' 2. 

I S. 



n 

D 




374 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

It seems to me that we live in an age in which 
the piano has again come very much into its own. 
The developments of the last fifteen or twenty years 
seem to me enormous. Again let me say that this 
is a period in which the piano is not merely a prac- 
tical and serviceable medium for expressing noble 
and touching musical feelings of a nature not es- 
pecially limited or adapted 1 to the piano or any other 
particular instrument, but in which the very soul 
and body of the instrument, all its most individual 
peculiarities and idiosyncracies, are especially 
catered for, and in which the technical aspects of 
the piano are developed to a degree and in a manner 
so that they are able to play an emotional and highly 
soulful role. 

AN INSPIRED PERIOD 

Composers such as Scarlatti, Couperin, Qinpm 
and Liszt at once leap to one's mind as creative 
geniuses of this particularly high pianistic type. 
They have not only written great music for the 
piano, such as the giants Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, 
but the greatness of their achievement lies in the 
peculiarly pianistic note of their style and of the 
elements contained in their works that prove un- 
usually stimulating and developing to pianists play- 
ing them. Though personally I feel perhaps the 
deepest attraction in the works of men such as 
Bach, Wagner, Grieg and Frederick Dclius, in 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 375 

whose creations the inventive germ and the inner 
musical idea and emotion comes always first, and 
the instrument or instruments employed are com- 
paratively secondary considerations (men who com- 
pose much the same kind of music whether they 
write it for organ or chorus or piano) ; still I feel 
we can hardly ever value the refreshing stimulating 
incentive (especially for the executive artists per- 
forming such works) found in the work of men 
whose gifts lie to a great extent in the power to 
concentrate on the physical nature of the particular 
instrument employed and who are capable of quaff- 
ing technical and color resources to the very dregs 
as it were. 

It seems to me we live in a period in which such 
technically inspired composers for the piano 
abound, and I think the results to pianists of all 
the new and fresh and lovely and startling piano 
creations that have appeared in print since, let us 
say, about 1900, have been extremely rich and their 
importance and benefit impossible to exaggerate. 
Pianistically speaking, it seems as if there never 
had existed a more prolific period than the present. 
What diversity ! What contrasts between the work 
of Albcniz and Cyril Scott, Debussy, Ravel, Schon- 
berg and Qrnstein. 

PIONEERS IJT A NEW FIELD 
At the risk of mentioning a very incomplete list, 



376 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

I wish to specialize on those composers whose piano- 
forte works I have had the pleasure of being the 
first to introduce into many different countries on 
my tours in various parts of the world, as follows: 
Debussy, Ravel, Cyril Scott, Frederick Delius, Al- 
beniz. At various times I have had the joy of in- 
troducing these men for the first time to audiences 
in England, Holland, Germany, Scandinavia, Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand, and I know no privilege more 
enticing and no event connected with a performer's 
career more satisfying and exciting and worth while 
than being able to introduce the torch-bearing works 
of new iconoclasts to broad-minded audiences all 
over the world, hungry and eager for beautiful new 
things. 

The soulfully sensuous and wistfully tender and 
pathetic creations of the modern French composers 
have occasioned a reaction against "banging" and 
over-energetic virtuoso playing in general for which 
we can never be too thankful They have rcintro- 
duced certain types of charmful pianism that had 
been neglected since the days of Coupcrin ami 
Scarlatti. They have also opened our eyes to the 
entrancing beauties of certain long pedal effects, 
which are particularly convincing in Debussy's 
Reflets dans I 3 em, Pagodcs, and in Ravel's J>w.r 
d'eau and Oudines. There are, after all, many very 
purely percussive and bell-like and gong-like effects 
peculiarly native to the nature of the metallic mod- 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 3/7 

ern piano which lay dormant until so wonderfully 
developed by Ravel and Debussy, which no doubt 
they owe in part, if not chiefly, to their contact with 
Gamalans and other Eastern instruments and mu- 
sics. 

CYRIL SCOTT'S UNIQUE ACHIEVEMENTS 
There are certain possibilities of the modern 
pianoforte that it seems to me only Cyril Scott has 
known how to utilize to their fullest extent. Mod- 
ern musicians have long been profoundly attracted 
to irregular rhythms of every kind. As early as 
1899 I was myself busy evolving a style of rhyth- 
mically irregular music in which every bar-length, 
every beat-length, could have a duration that had 
no regular relation whatever to those preceding or 
following it. If our present system can be described 
as "meter in music/' then what I was attempting 
might be termed "prose in music/' These experi- 
ments of mine led Cyril Scott to pursue highly or- 
iginal developments of his own, 

It is one thing to write highly irregular rhythms 
for chorus or orchestra or chamber combinations; 
it is another tiling to get such rhythms accurately 
performed, with complete unanimity between the 
different j>erfonncrs! Cyril Scott realized that the 
absolute solo nature of the piano offered unique 
op;ortrniti<s, It is far easier for a single per- 
fon,, * t " lce complex rhythms than for 



378 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

several musicians playing or singing together to do 
so. Therefore the most successful and revolution- 
ary developments of irregular rhythms yet in print 
can be studied in Cyril Scott's piano works, such 
as his great Sonata, Op. 66, his Suite, Op. 75, and 
such entrancing and highly original and significant 
smaller numbers as the following from his Poctns 
for piano The Garden of Soul-sympathy, Bells, 
The Twilight of the Year, Paradise Birds, etc. 

As a pianistic colorist he has exploited the metal- 
lic, bell-like, clanging upper octaves of the piano in 
ways no other composer has, producing brittle iri- 
descent cascades of chord-sounds that have a capti- 
vating charm wholly their own. 

Apart from all this, Cyril Scott's music most 
soulfully expresses one of the most interesting, 
noble and poetic artistic personalities of our age. 

THE INFLUENCE OF SPANISH GIPSY Music 
It is highly interesting to trace the influence of 
guitars, mandolins, etc,, in such pieces as Debussy's 
La Soiree dans Grenade and Minstrels, Ravel's 
Alborada el Graziosa, and Albeniz's Iberia. Albcniz 
developed the "two-hand" technic perhaps more' 
than anyone else. His piano style might also be 
nicknamed a "concertina" style, so much does it 
consist of "right, left, right, left," devices, Al- 
beniz seems to me to give us a volume of sonority, 
a dashing intensity and glowing brilliancy that have 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 379 

been lacking in composers for the piano since Liszt 
and Balakirew, and without which we should be 
very much the poorer. At other times the vibrating 
gloom of his music suggests old Spanish pictures. 
But in all his phases he appears to me a real genius, 
occupying a wholly unique and precious niche 
amongst the greatest pianistic composers of all time. 

A NOTABLE CONCERTO 

Frederick Delius's Pianoforte Concerto in C 
Minor is to my mind the most important, the most 
deeply musical and emotionally significant concerto 
produced for several decades. It is not merely a 
fine pianistic concerto, but apart from all that a 
glowing representative work by one of the greatest 
creators of all time. To many keen observers of 
modem compositional developments, the great 
Frederick Delius seems to tower above most or all 
of his contemporaries because of the irresistible 
emotional power, passion, and inner sincerity of 
his creations, A wizard in orchestration, a harmon- 
ist second to none, it is the human soul behind all 
his other marvelous qualities that marks him out 
as a genius among geniuses, and makes him so par- 
ticularly touching and endearing, and accounts for 
the unique position among modern composers held 
by Delius in England, Germany, Holland and else- 
where, and the extraordinary international vogue 
of such complex creations as Brigg Fair, Paris* 



380 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

Dance Rhapsody, Sea-drift, Appalachia, Mass of 
Life, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, etc. 
His polyphony is marvelous and 1 has an indefin- 
able Bach-like quality that is no less noticeable in 
his emotional make-up and in the non-effect-seeking 
sincerity and depth of his whole being and utter- 
ance. His artistic soul is akin to great cosmic men 
such as Bach, Wagner, Goethe, Walt Whitman, 
Milton he is most at home in great broad lines, 
and his work glows with a great lovingness, almost 
religious, in its all-embracing and cosmic breadth. 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXVI 

PERCY GRAINGER 

1. Give some of the chief differences between 
piano playing of twenty years ago and the piano 
playing of today. 

2. Give the names of some composers whose com- 
positions are peculiarly pianistic. 

3. In what class of instruments does the piano 
properly belong? 

4. From what oriental instrument did Debussey 
learn much? 

5. Why is it desirable to emphasize certain notes 
in chords? 



MODERNISM IN PIANOFORTE STUDY 381 

6. What have been some of the chief innovations 
of Cyril Scott? 

7. Tell something of the pianistic accomplish- 
ments of Albeniz. 



ALEXANDER LAMBERT 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Alexander Lambert was born at Warsaw, No- 
vember i, 1863. His first teacher was his father, 
Henry Lambert At the age of ten Alexander 
played for Rubinstein, who was much impressed 
with his talent, and gave the boy's father a letter 
to Julius Epstein at the Vienna Conservatory. At 
the conservatory he remained for four years, gradu- 
ating with a medal shortly after he was sixteen 
years of age. When seventeen he moved to Am- 
erica, whither his parents had come. Here he de- 
veloped his repertoire, through self-study, for three 
years. When twenty he returned to Europe, and 
toured Germany and Russia with the great Joachim, 
Moszkowski then took a great interest in the young 
pianist, and, in addition to dedicating a work to 
him, advised him to go to Weimar to study with 
Liszt. At Weimar he remained for many months, 
under the direct guidance of Liszt Returning to 
America he appeared as a soloist with the orchestras 
of Seidl, Damrosch, Van der Stucken, and made 
highly successful appearances in recitals in New 
York, Boston, Chicago, and other cities. At the 
age of twenty-three, Lambert started in to teach, 
and soon found himself at the head of the highly 
successful New York College of Music, where he 
remained as director for eighteen years, Severn! 
of his pupils have appeared at important concerts 
here and abroad with notable success. 

382 




AI -KX AN DICK J < A M BICRT 



PROFITABLE PRACTICE 

Venus 
WASTED PRACTICE 

ALEXANDER LAMBERT 

WASTED PRACTICE AT THE OUTSTART 
THE more experienced the teacher the more evi- 
dent it is to him that no one can make a set of 
practice rules or a practice plan that would cover 
all cases. It is extremely difficult to get away from 
generalities, because each individual pupil is dif- 
ferent from any and every other pupil and to 
make a hard-and-fast law for practice that would 
fit all would be like making one pair of spectacles 
and expect that pair to fit the eyes of many dif- 
ferent people. The simile is an interesting one for 
if there can be so much difference in the focus of 
different eyes imagine what an immense difference 
there must bo in the mental focus. 

The first general rule for the teacher to observe 
in the practice of the beginner is to leave nothing 
undone to make the practice interesting and en- 
thusiastic. The pupil should go to the keyboard 
alive with interest. It does not make much dif- 
ference how the teacher accomplishes this so long 
as he really does it You will find hundreds and 
hundreds of theories about how to teach, but they 

883 



384 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

are all worthless unless the teacher has the power 
to grasp the essentials in connection with each case. 

THROUGH THE EYES OF THE CHILD 
The teacher must, of course, see the interesting 
side of music himself. That is, he must see it 
through the eyes of the child. The pupil comes 
with a face that is a picture of unwillingness. He 
should leave the studio with a face beaming with 
the excitement of having learned something beauti- 
ful and profitable. Some people are able to do this 
and some are not Those who can create that kind 
of enthusiasm which charges the pupil with the de- 
sire to work and work hard until the next lesson 
are the successful teachers. They outstrip many 
who may have better technical equipment and who 
wonder why they do not succeed by parading the 
fact that their training has been the most elaborate 
of any of the teachers in town. 

After all, the one great thing in all education is 
simply results. If you want to know the greatest 
secret of how to become a successful teacher, pro- 
duce results, not ordinary, mediocre results, but re- 
sults that are so artistic and so thorough that they 
cannot fail to command respect and attention. My 
friends used to say to me when I was director of 
the New York College of Music, "Mr, Lambert, 
you are very successful you are a good business 
man," It always made me laugh, as I never felt 



PROFITABLE PRACTICE VERSUS WASTED 385 

that I was a good business man at all I simply 
worked for results and saw that the practice of my 
pupils was resultful. 

Before leaving the subject of enthusiasm, we 
might note that the pupil's attitude toward practice 
should have the serious attention of the teacher at 
all times. Most of the difficulties are easily remed- 
ied if the teacher is watchful. He should by no 
means glue his eyes on the keyboard alone. For 
instance, the face is a good barometer of the pupil's 
mental and nervous condition. Making faces indi- 
cates a nervous strain which, if not eradicated at 
once, will prevent one later on from acquiring an 
easy and graceful way of playing. 

AN UNDISTURBED STUDY PLAN 
The need for a good study plan or course is very 
important, and once the pupil has been advised that 
a certain course is best suited to his needs let him 
keep steadfastly on until he reaches some definite 
aim. Much time is wasted because the pupil is 
twisted one way and the other by people, who, how- 
ever well meaning, are upsetting the teacher's plans 
and the pupil's work. Some pupils hold their ears 
open for all the foolish criticism imaginable. 

''Why, my clear, you are practicing all wrong. 
The $XYZWX$ method would never permit you 
to practice in that way!" 
The pupil thinks a moment and replies, "But 



386 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

my teacher has been turning out successful pupils 
for years/' 

Then the "well-meaning" friend answers: 
'That has nothing to do with it. Nobody thinks 
of studying by any other method than the 
$XYZWX$ method in these days/' 

The pupil runs off to the brand new and incom- 
parable method. After a little while some other 
well-meaning friend comes along with another in- 
fallible method, and the pupil is again torn up from 
her regular practice, "by the roots" as it were, and 
planted in a new educational hot-box guaranteed to 
produce results finer than anything ever produced 
before. For this reason I have made it a practice 
not to criticize pupils of other teachers. All teachers 
have their own ideas and are entitled to think as 
their judgment prompts. It is most unjust to 
criticise the work of another teacher in good stand- 
ing, as one may not perceive the purposes for which 
the other teacher is working. By criticising un- 
fairly, all the pupil's confidence in his teacher (and 
therefore the confidence he should have in his prac- 
tice periods) is distorted, and instead of an cajjer, 
positive, active pupil, we have a weak, listless wan- 
dering student who never reaches his goal" 

REDUNDANCY IN PRACTICE 
In the early stages of musical progress the pupil 
should be counseled to watch his own work so care- 



PROFITABLE PRACTICE VERSUS WASTED 387 

fully that he may determine at home whether he 
works correctly or not which passage needs repe- 
tition and which does not. And often even a simple 
little melody requires hard work. Good practice is 
intelligent repetition, but there is little intelligence 
in repeating anything without concentration of 
mind. Concentrate upon the difficult passages and 
work on them until they sound as fluent and simple 
as the ones that are now easy to you. 

Indeed, one of the chief aims during practice is 
to develop the critical sense* Have you ever 
thought of it in that way? All the time you are 
working with your fingers at the keyboard you 
should be busy in your brain building up those 
faculties which discriminate very nicely indeed be- 
tween what is artistic, effective, or beautiful, and 
that which is weak, banal or ugly. After all, the 
sum and substance of your musicianship apart from 
your actual keyboard work depends upon the mental 
balance or artistic right and artistic wrong which 
you should be building every moment during your 
practice. 

Of course the advice of your teacher is in the 
first place of great value, in informing you upon 
those art principles which define beautiful playing 
and careless playing. There are certain laws of ex- 
pression which have to do with form and design 
with which every teacher should acquaint his pupils, 
but the working out of these principles is done in 



388 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

the pupil's own mind and nowhere else. Practice 
that does not lead to this is certainly worthless. 

If you were to listen to someone else playing you 
would be "all ears" for false notes, bad phrasing, 
poor pedaling. Listen to yourself in the same way, 
as though a stranger were playing one might al- 
most say as though a rival were playing. This 
makes for concentration and is always profitable. 

PHYSICAL CONDITIONS 

The student should constantly realize how thor- 
oughly practice is a matter of body building and 
brain building. There are times when practice is 
more injurious than beneficial. If the bodily health 
is bad the student should lessen his practice efforts 
or even stop entirely until better physical conditions 
are obtained. No teacher is smart enough to give 
a music lesson to a headache, a bad case of indiges- 
tion or la grippe. If any one of your pupils happen 
to be the victim of "legitimate," sickness let him 
stop until he recovers. You may lose a little in 
lesson fees, but why waste your time, your strength 
and your knowledge trying to teach when teaching 
is impossible? 

The capacity of some students is limited That 
is, they can take just so much at a time and do it 
well. It is much the same with the practice period. 
Practice as long at one time as you can practice 
well, and do not try to crowd one or two months' 



PROFITABLE PRACTICE VERSUS WASTED 389 

work into one hour. Do everything you do as 
finely as you possibly can, even though you succeed 
in learning no more than a few measures. You 
may be very fond of ice cream soda, but if you 
attempt to devour five or six glasses of soda water, 
one right after the other, the result will be painful. 
Yet pupils are constantly doing much the same 
thing in their practice periods. I wonder whether 
it is not the American spirit of restlessness? We 
find it hard to concentrate long upon one thing. 

Too much work is worse than too little. The 
pupil who spends so many hours a day at the key- 
board that he is obliged to put himself in the hands 
of the doctor or the masseur loses all the time and 
money he has spent upon his music and accom- 
plishes nothing in the bargain. 

KEEPING THE RIGHT MENTAL ANGLE 
It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that 
years are wasted every minute through unintelli- 
gent practice. This is by no means always the fault 
of the teacher, as he cannot supply intelligence. He 
can merely strive to set up habits which will make 
the student more exacting. 

When the student starts to practice that is, 
practice in such a way that he will get something 
out of his work, he should direct his mind as 
definitely and as certainly as though he were taking 
it to another room a kind of chamber of practice. 



390 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

While his mind is in that imaginary room there 
should be no intrusions from the outside, no looking 
out of the mental windows. This does not apply 
only to pieces and to studies alone, but to all modes 
of practice everything. 

For instance, my experience has shown me that 
scales are invaluable and I use them constantly with 
all pupils in all grades. The pupils are taught from 
the very first to concentrate upon the scales, just as 
though they were playing the most difficult piece. 
Their eyes never leave the fingers and the mind is 
constantly at work disciplining the fingers, insisting 
upon correct hand positions, controlling the touch, 
etc. Variety is to be had by practicing scales with 
special attention to any of the following matters, 
all equally important: 

TOUCH 

STRENGTH 

SPEED 

LIGHTNESS 

SURETY 

LOOSENESS, ETC. 

Any one who has practiced scales right in these 
ways never professes to be bored with them. Many 
of the great pianists feel the necessity for a thor- 
ough and continual playing of the scales. The 
student who tries to do without them is making a 
very serious mistake indeed. 



PROFITABLE PRACTICE VERSUS WASTED 39! 

PRACTICE MUSICALLY 

The worst kind of practice is perfunctory prac- 
tice. The key board is a kind of treadmill for 
thousands of students. They play and play and 
play, and never consider the musical side of their 
work In fact, there is very little difference be- 
tween their work and that of an actor who might 
take Hamlet and recite it with the same sing-song 
that children use in saying the multiplication tables. 
In all your practice with pieces, every note, every 
motive, every phrase, every section you play, should 
be filled to the utmost with musical expression. That 
is, you should not leave a phrase pass under your 
fingers unless it has meant something to you. It 
should have passed 1 through your consciousness and 
should carry a message to other ears, a message 
which is a part of you. 

Do not do this in the hardest possible way. Take 
the natural, simple way be yourself. Some un- 
fortunate pupils imagine great effort, wrinkled 
foreheads and nervous anxiety will lead to results 
in practice* Quite the opposite is really true. Let 
your mind and your fingers do the work, not your 
face. If you wanted to walk gracefully you would 
not begin by putting your feet and legs in outrag- 
eous shapes and staggering along like a cripple. 
Learning to play is in some ways like learning to 
walk, Don't learn to stagger and stumble by per- 
mitting yourself repeatedly to stagger and stumble. 



392 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

All work at the keyboard is for control. Control 
does not come about by forgiving little slips, getting 
stupidly excited or making blunders. Every pupil 
can get hold of himself and retain that hold so that 
mistakes become the exception instead of the rule, 

REGULARITY IN PRACTICE 
The great virtuoso who may never have given a 
lesson in his life and may have forgotten all about 
the conditions which existed during his student 
days, who may have been so talented that his case 
was no criterion by which the work of other less 
gifted pupils might be judged, often gives the fol- 
lowing advice: 

ef Practice when you feel like it 9 ' 

That is all very well for the virtuoso who has 
already acquired a giant technic, but over thirty 
years of experience with pupils in all grades, dur- 
ing which I have given personally thousands of 
lessons, has shown me that the only safe course for 
the average pupil is to 

"Practice regularly or not at all" 

Young pupils should report for their practice 
hours every day, just as they report for their school 
work. Pupils think that they can skip a day now 
and then without affecting their work so long as 
they "make up" by practicing three or four hours 



PROFITABLE PRACTICE VERSUS WASTED 393 

on one day. Absurd! This is like going without 
food for a week and then eating ten dinners one 
right after the other to catch up. 

In fact, the main advantage in regular practice is 
that the mind goes to it after regular periods of 
rest The mind must be fresh and clear every mo- 
ment Constant watch must be kept for unneces- 
sary movements. In these days of efficiency in 
manufacture we learn that all unnecessary move- 
ment is waste. Any intelligent piano teacher could 
have told the so-called efficiency engineers that all 
good music pedagogs have been fighting to do away 
with unnecessary movements for years. Indeed, it 
has gotten down to such a fine point now that the 
fingers are never raised higher than just enough to 
strike the notes effectively. There was a day when 
the fingers were lifted to exaggerated heights, but 
then men began to think in this way the high step- 
ping horse is rarely the strong horse or the very 
fast horse. Indeed, the race horse is almost never 
a high stopper when he is at his best. If we wanted 
to learn to run we would not start by lifting our 
knees to our noses. 

The amount of practice to be done each day Is 
something which is wholly a matter of the teacher's 
discretion. Each teacher has his ideas upon this 
subject, and does things in his own way, so I feel 
a little delicate about telling my own, but I never 
permitted any of my pupils to practice over foqr 



394 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

hours. My only advice to pupils upon assigning 
work to be studied is to say, "Do as much as you 
can learn perfectly/' If the pupil docs only three 
measures I am satisfied so long as those measures 
are as nearly perfect as possible. For the average 
pupil of eighteen, in good health, three, or, at most, 
four hours a day is ample. More is likely to be in- 
jurious. Some years ago I prepared a card giving 
advice to students upon the subject of practice. 
This is so nearly identical with what I am giving 
tod'ay that it may be interesting to reprint this card. 
It has gone into the hands of thousands. Indeed, I 
see nothing in my advice of two decades ago that 
I would care to alter very radically today. 

ADVICE TO STUDENTS 

Always practice systematically. 

Seldom practice over four hours a day. Don't 
think that by practicing six or seven hours a day 
you will become a greater artist than he who prac- 
tices four hours a day. Your fingers cannot stand 
so long a strain, and if you persist, they will take 
their revenge a few years later, when your fingers 
will begin to lose their strength and surety, A 
student who cannot accomplish much in four hours, 
will not in six, 

Divide your hours for practicing thus; one hour 
and 1 a half in the morning; the same in the after* 
noon, and one hour in the evening, 



PROFITABLE PRACTICE VERSUS WASTED 395 

In the morning devote half an hour to five-finger 
exercises and scales, half an hour to your etudes 
and half an hour to your sonata or piece. Do the 
same in the afternoon. The hour in the evening 
may be devoted to reviewing your last lesson, 

Do not practice your whole lesson every day; 
divide it into equal parts. You can learn one page 
a day, where you could not learn two or three. 

Always practice slowly and carefully. If you 
come across a difficult passage, practice it with each 
hand separately, repeating the passage first slowly 
and with strength, and then faster and more softly 
until you have mastered it 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECIINIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXVII 

ALEXANDER LAMBERT 

L What is the first general rule in all pianoforte 
practice? 

2, How may a pupil's mental and nervous condi- 
tion Ixi readily detected? 

3, What should be one of the chief aims during 
practice? 

4, How should the pupil listen during practice? 

5, How should physical health govern practice? 

6, State six things which should be considered 
during scale practice. 



396 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

7. Why should the pupil endeavor to discover 
the easiest form of practice? 

8. What are the great advantages of regularity 
in practice? 

9. How long should one practice daily? 

10. How should difficult passages be conquered? 




ALBERTO JOXAS 



ALBERTO JONAS 

BIOGRAPHICAL 

Sefior Jonas is known as a Spanish virtuoso, but 
in reality he is a cosmopolitan in every sense of 
the word 1 . He has lived in nearly all the capitals 
of Europe, and also he resided for many years in 
America. His learning is wide and comprehensive 
in other lines than music. The fact that he speaks 
Spanish, French, German and English with equal 
facility has enabled him to make researches in many 
departments of science and literature in many coun- 
tries. He has devoted much special attention to the 
nerves in pianoforte playing and has a thorough 
understanding of the physiological aspect of the 
subject, Senor Jonas was born at Madrid, June 8, 
1868. After study in Spain he graduated at the 
Brussels Conservatory, winning the first prize in 
pianoforte playing and two first prizes in harmony, 
Later he studied with Anton Rubinstein in St. 
Petersburg, and made an international reputation 
as a pianist 

397 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 

ALBERTO JONAS 

NEURASTHENIA, THE AMERICAN DISEASE 
MUSICIANS, notably music teachers, have the 
reputation of being nervous, and since America has 
been called by many "the country of nerves" it 
would seem that American music workers should 
be sufferers. This, however, is by no means an 
exclusively American disease nor are the only vic- 
tims to be found among the American musicians, 
Pathologists, nevertheless, acknowledge that there 
is a great amount of nervousness in America and 
this is not said in the way of being a slur upon the 
country or its people. Inasmuch as an American 
physician, Dr. George M. Beard, as long ago as 
1881 wrote a book entitled American XcrrmtsncM, 
Its Causes and Consequences, in which he dwells 
upon the fine organization of native Americans, 
their delicate skin, hair of soft texture and small 
bones, there can be no offense when American nerv- 
ousness is discussed. 

MUSICIANS USUALLY KNOW Limp. OF CAUSE 

Musicians who know little of other professional 

work than their own, naturally have only a very 

vague idea of the nature of nervousness or its 

causes. They do not realize that nervousness is in 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 399 

part the result of heredity, of environment, of per- 
sonal habits and of mental attitude, With heredi- 
tary nervousness, the musician has little to do. He 
may guard his own habits of health to protect the 
nervous organization of his descendants, but it is 
only disconcerting to learn that he may himself have 
had an ancestry tending to predispose him towards 
nervousness. His environment, however, is a very 
different matter, That at least is partly open to his 
control, and moreover his habits may be regulated 
so that many "acquired" forms of nervousness may 
be avoided, 

The musician should also know that the normal 
cure for nervous conditions is not to be found so 
much in medicine bottles as in work accomplished 
without hurry or flurry, but with care and a happy 
mind plenty of rest, the right food and the right 
mental attitude (state of mind). The healthy, well- 
balanced person whose nerves begin to give way un- 
consciously seeks rest or finds a remedy. The 
musician, however, is kept up to a high tension by 
the enthusiasm for his work and his ambition to 
excel He forgets his health and before one knows 
It there is a disastrous breakdown which enforces 
months of idleness. When he does discover that he 
is nervous, he promptly sets out to nurse his nerv- 
ousness and ultimately makes it much like some 
grievance or some trouble for which he feels him- 



400 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

self in no way responsible and for which he is 
ready to blame any person or any thing, 

A SELF SUGGESTED COMPLAINT 
Putting aside heredity and pathological condi- 
tions, nervousness comes under the head of self- 
suggested complaints. If one were to isolate the 
microbe of nervousness it would probably be found 
that it was nothing other than the magnification of 
self, although on the contrary in some cases it 
might be laid to the neglect of self. 

Take the matter of food, for instance. Musicians 
eat at all hours, consume rich viands, often hurry 
through their meals and some unfortunately are ad- 
dicted 1 to the over use of alcohol I do not refer 
now to those who indulge in wine or beer occasion* 
ally, but to those who consume the very strong 
drinks. As a matter of fact, there is less alcohol 
in a glass of well-brewed beer (German beer has 
3 1 /2%) than in a poorly cooked potato, A raw po- 
tato contains 65 $> of alcohol. Nevertheless, tin* 
books by specialists on nervousness are filled with 
injunctions against the abuse of alcohol which i* a 
most excellent fuel and motive power for machin- 
ery other than the human stomach. 

I have seen American musicians rush back to 
work directly after a meal just like their brethren 
in the American business world. The German or 
the Frenchman rests after his meals, rests for per- 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 401 

haps half an hour and then returns refreshed with 
his digestion undisturbed by business cares. There 
can be no question that dyspepsia and nervousness 
are closely connected in many cases. Get the best 
book you can upon diet and eating, the right selec- 
tion of food's, etc., and then use all of your will 
power to create habits of correct eating. This may 
show in your playing and study. Who knows, it 
may be just what you need most to get rid of 
nervousness. 

THE AMERICAN TEMPERAMENT AND NERVES 
America is a land of such amazing opportunity 
that the musician, like the business man, keeps him- 
self constantly under a great strain to get ahead. 
No one can tell me that the Americans are not 
temperamental but many misconstrue the meaning 
of temperament and imagine it must be a form of 
nervous agitation. On the contrary it is a highly 
developed nervous organism under adequate control 
of the will It is a lively exuberance and forceful 
expression of the feelings, In music it includes 
enthusiasm and the ardent desire to do justice to 
the beauties of a composition, The temperamental 
player will put more emphatic force in his strong 
utterances. He will give more passionate expres- 
sion to phrases of love, sorrow, courage and despair. 
On the other hand, he is by the very nature of his 
art apt to step over the bounds. This exaggeration, 



402 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

which is ruinous to the interpretation of a great 
master work, is quite as apt to come from lack of 
the right artistic balance or judgment as it is from 
lack of a strong nervous system, but it probably 
comes more frequently from the latter. 

SOME WONDERS OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM 
In order that the musician may gain a better idea 
of the marvels of the nervous system and perhaps 
a higher respect for the wonderful piece of physio- 
logical machinery which we all have within us, I 
would suggest that he secure some good simple 
work upon the nerves and do a little close reading. 
In the first place, the number of nerve cells in the 
body is prodigious. Of course they have never 
been counted because it would be almost as easy to 
count the stars in the firmament. Estimates, how- 
ever, place the number of nerve cells in the human 
body at hundred's of millions. Yet all these are 
connected in some mysterious and wonderful man- 
ner with the brain and the spinal cord. Sever cer- 
tain nerves in your arm and you may apply a burn- 
ing brand to your hand without feeling it. This 
illustrates how closely connected is (he nervous 
system with the brain, Although you seem to feel 
pain in your finger when it is pricked with a pin, 
the sense of pain is after all in the brain, This is 
a very important fact for musicians to note. There 
are inferences which might be drawn therefrom 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 403 

which if properly understood would easily show 
how the pupil may be saved hours of labor by the 
right mental control 

Each nerve cell or neurone may be said to be 
independent, an anatomical physiological unit living 
by itself but at the same time connected with other 
nerve cells in a manner so marvelous that it is be- 
yond the province of words to describe it. Nervous 
breakdown is usually caused by the slow disintegra- 
tion of the nerve cells and nerve fibre. In some 
cases this disintegration has no serious outward 
signs. In other cases the hair commences to fall 
very rapidly, muscular action is less coordinate, at 
times even erratic, and the memory commences to 
weaken* Beware of these signs of nerve decay. It 
is time for you, Mr. Pianist, to investigate yourself 
and strive to build up your nervous organism. 

SOME THINGS THE PIANIST SHOULD KNOW 
ABOUT NERVES 

The pianist should know first of all that every 
effort requires nervous expenditure. That is, the 
something which caused the effort that was con- 
sumed in making it It then becomes necessary for 
new nerve force to form. Just as a storage battery 
which has been used up needs to be charged again, 
the nerves must be re-charged with force for future 
endeavors. The storage battery gets its re-charge 
from the dynamo; but whence comes the force 



404 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

which re-charges the nerve cells no one really 
knows. The nutrition of the nerve cell is, however, 
in large measure dependent upon the blood supply 
and it may be assumed that anything which will 
improve the condition of the blood will at the same 
time make for better nerves. It may also be seen 
that the circulation of the blood must be kept in 
the very best possible condition. 

There is no more stupid way in which the pianist 
or the piano student can waste his time than by 
long continued 1 periods of practice without relaxa- 
tion, general bodily exercise and plenty of deep 
breathing. A quick walk around the block, inter- 
spersed with good full breaths, often restores the 
nerve force and insures progress. For that reason 
short practice periods and many of them are better 
than one long period. 

ARE PIANISTS ESPECIALLY LIABLE TO 

NERVOUSNESS? 

I do not think that pianists are more liable to 
nervousness than people in other professions as a 
result of the fact that the pianist is continually hit* 
ting with his highly sensitized finger tips all day 
long. As a matter of fact, the violinist exerts far 
more pressure upon the fingerboard of the violin. 
In other words, note for note the physical force de- 
manded in the case of the violinist is greater than 
in the case of the pianist Piano playing in itself 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 405 

does not promote nervousness. One has only to 
judge by the well-known performers. Most of the 
virtuosos I have known are exceptionally strong 
persons, with hearty appetites and good nerves. The 
great pianist must have fine nerves. He would 
never be able to stand the strain otherwise. 

Nervousness comes to those who have not yet 
learned how to control themselves mentally and 
physically. The little teacher who worries and 
frets all the time who tortures her life with imag- 
ining that awful things may occur and who takes 
every set-back as a calamity she is the one who is 
the victim of neurasthenia. The teacher imagines 
that because success does not come at once she 
must be lacking in talent or is going behind. Real 
success in music study is at the end of a long 
journey. The piano student must learn to control 
his nerve-breaking eagerness to rush ahead. 

SOMK THINGS THE PARENT SHOULD KNOW 
Nervousness at the practice hour is by no means 
unusual, and piano practice in itself may be made a 
source of nervousness if proper conditions are not 
observed 1 . The pupil should always practice in a 
room alone. There is nothing which makes the 
pupil more nervous than petty disturbances such as 
people passing in and out of the room, annoying 
parental admonitions, other children playing in 
neighboring rooms, I insist upon the pupil having 



406 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

a comfortable chair during practice. There are cer- 
tain positions in sitting and standing which are a 
great strain upon the nervous system. Ease at the 
keyboard can never be attained unless the pupil 
learns to sit easily and comfortably during practice, 
not on a revolving stool balanced like a performer 
in the circus, but upon a substantial comfortable 
chair. 

Another matter which has to do with nerve strain 
is vision. See to it that the distribution of light in 
the practice room is right The windows (and like- 
wise the artificial light) should be behind or at the 
side of the performer, never in front of him. Eye 
strain may tire the pupil ancf lead to nervousness 
almost as quickly as in any other way. Many peo- 
ple are nervous and yet do not know that the cause 
could be removed by a good oculist. Another cause 
of nervousness which very few might suspect is the 
position of the music on the music rack* In the 
case of the grand piano the music is somewhat 
higher than in the case of the upright piano. Con- 
sequently when the music rack is too high the 
player's neck is held in a strained position. For 
this reason also (and for other reasons too), I dis- 
courage sitting too low at the piano. It forces the 
player to strain his neck, when reading music. All 
the great network of nerve ganglia located at the 
back of the neck is then strained 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 407 

THE NERVOUS PUPIL AT PRACTICE 
When playing, the Inexperienced pianist with ten- 
dencies toward nervousness seems for the most 
part afraid of missing notes or of forgetting some 
complicated passage. He does not seem concerned, 
however, over the equally important subject of 
whether his tone will be uniformly fine or whether 
his touch will be beautiful, whether the dynamic 
treatment will prove effective and within the canons 
of well-poised aesthetic judgment, whether the 
pedals are well employed, whether his playing will 
show a clear "distribution" or outline as regards the 
proper distinction of phrases, sections, periods, 
episodes, also of contrasts and climaxes. Yet were 
he to give serious, conscientious thought to all this 
while playing, he xvould in all probability not have 
time nor inclination to fret about accuracy or mem- 
ory. Nervousness is often nothing more than self- 
consciousness unduly magnified over the real signifi- 
cance of the player's artistic message. 

All this presupposes, of course, that the per- 
former has completely mastered his piece. Mastery, 
that is a wonderful insurance against nervousness. 
I <Io not mean to say that anyone who has mastered 
a piece can not be nervous, but mastery brings a 
confidence hard to describe in any other way, When 
the pianist knows that he can play a work accurately 
and safely, and also beautifully, he should not fret 



408 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

If he does fret, he should look to the piece quite as 
much as to his own nerves. 

But if one searches deeper, particularly into the 
psychological aspects of the subject, one will often 
find that underlying it all is a wrong, and let it be 
said frankly, not very noble attitude of mind. The 
performer is afraid because he consciously or un- 
consciously craves the applause and flattery of the 
listener. This should not be so and indeed is never 
the case with the true artist. He is, of course, glad 
if the audience understands him, he is also glad of 
the success and for all the good it may bring with 
it But should the audience fail to respond and the 
apparent success not yet be his, then he should 
quietly investigate whether he has accomplished 
what he had set out to do, or whether the selections 
he had played were too deep, too abstract, or too 
new for the average audience to understand. There 
is certainly no real occasion for nervousness. The 
performer will honestly and sincerely criticize this 
performance with a view to future improvement 
and there will be no sterner nor fairer judge than 
he. 

Therein lies the strength of the true artist with 
the view to future improvement. That thought will 
ever console him, for the artist lives in a world of 
ideals which he strives to reach, knowing full well 
that he will never quite attain them. Often an artist 
is greeted with great applause after the perform- 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 409 

ance of a piece, but at the same time he realizes that 
he has not done his best. The true artist will forget 
the enthusiasm of the audience and set out to im- 
prove the defective passages even though the audi- 
ence was mistaken. 

Therefore whether the artist plays well or not 
well he will always strive to improve his work, 
cither by keeping it up to the fine standard he 
usually attains or by endeavoring to excel his own 
past at future performances. The performer thus 
becomes a constant student of his own playing the 
most absorbing subject he can possibly take up. 
How can such a performer big or small entertain 
the fear thought? He has far too much on his 
mind to think of worry or nerves. He approaches 
his task of playing for others without fear or trepi- 
dation, but rather with the spirit of sincere in- 
vestigation. Nervousness in public playing then be- 
comes an impossibility because his aim and reward 
He higher than the immediate applause. 

PRACTICAL TECHNICAL ADVICE ON NERVOUSNESS 
Viewed from the practical, that is the physiologi- 
cal or technical standpoint, the nervousness of the 
pianist occurs mostly in the changes of the hand 
{tosition at the keyboard. The more skips there are 
In a composition, the greater is his fear of missing 
notes. He has therefore to learn by painstaking 
exercise to control himself more and more carefully 



410 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

when changes of position occur. On the other hand 
"too much care will kill a cat," and he must acquire 
the necessary abandon and confidence in himself 
and attain the desired accuracy without seeming 
concerned about it. 

How closely nervousness is connected with fear 
must be evident to anyone who has observed closely. 
Every soldier who goes into battle for the first time 
is afraid. If he manages to stick to his post while 
the bullets whiz past his head it is because disobe- 
dience or retreat would bring him death with equal 
certainty. It is only after repeated experiences that 
the soldier learns to keep cool while danger sur- 
rounds him on all sides. In the same manner it 
takes repeated experiences for the performer on 
the concert stage to master the courage which makes 
him oblivious of the audience. 

Do not minimize that matter of courage. Were 
I to epitomize every conceivable requisite of good 
nerve control, whether intellectual, physical or 
moral I would choose that word courage as embody- 
ing them all. It takes courage at all times to make 
the nerves subservient to the will, courage to regu- 
late one's life habits, courage to be oneself when in 
the presence of others, courage to entertain one's 
own artistic convictions courage, COURAGE, 
COURAGE. 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 411 

SENSIBLE REMEDIES FOR NERVOUSNESS 
Let us consider for a few moments some of the 
sensible things which may be done to remedy some 
states of nervous trouble. Of course no one must 
suppose that there could be anything written in an 
article of this kind that would supply the assistance 
which only a trained physician can give in advanced 
cases of nervous breakdown. However, I am cer- 
tain that there are a number of simple things which 
may be controlled and which will unquestionably 
help the musician, teacher, and student, if a little 
patience and persistence is employed to pursue these 
cures. 

First of all the nervous musicians should remem- 
ber, as we have previously said, that nervousness is 
often largely a matter of pose and self-conscious- 
ness. Like the child who cries only when some one 
is around, many people have nerves which are for 
exhibition purposes solely. Their manifestations of 
nervousness are really nothing more than appeals 
for sympathy. What is this but a mental angle, a 
wrong way of looking at tilings? Get out of it. 
Fight it Be sincere and genuine, and you will 
realize that the world is not going to stand or fall 
because of the manner in which you play a certain 
piece. When a man looks for sympathy what he 
needs most of the time is a good kick Those who 
deserve sympathy get it without begging for It 
It would be a splendid thing if some of the 



412 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

nervous music teachers, or rather those who think 
they are nervous, should read Moliere's delightful 
satirical comedy Le Malade Imaginairc. The im- 
aginary sick man simply does not want to be cured, 
and it is not difficult to see how the tired teacher 
could take some very slight nervous disturbance and 
nurse it into a genuine case of neurasthenia. 

RIGHT LIVING FOR Music WORKERS 
We are living in an age when there is a colossal 
appeal for higher and higher efficiency. The so- 
called efficiency expert places first of all good bodily 
health. Standards of musicianship constantly 
ascend so that one simply must possess good nerves 
to keep "in the swim/' Here are a few of the 
essentials which in my opinion lead to good nerves. 

1. Good healthy, simple food 1 , cooked without 
unnecessary strong spices, eaten at leisure amid con- 
genial surroundings and with an untroubled mind, 
not swallowed down in haste, with the mind wor- 
ried by the care of the day. Food, of course, is 
assimilated in the stomach, but when one realizes 
how much the mind affects the circulation of the 
blood and the administration of the gastric juices 
in the stomach, one perceives how important the 
right mental condition during meals really is, 

2. Abstinence from strong stimulants. If you 
have any doubt upon this subject, get almost any 
book on nerves, and you will find that the evidence 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 413 

is uncompromisingly against the abuse of alcohol, 
or in fact any drug destined to affect the nerves. 
An exception might in some cases be made of well- 
brewed beer or good wine, partaken of in modera- 
tion. 

3. Good moral habits. It need hardly be empha- 
sized that immorality of any sort will in time under- 
mine the strongest nervous system. It is the surest, 
quickest, deadliest, enemy of good nerves. 

4. Plenty of work, physical and mental, done 
tvith joy. 

5. Exercise in the open air, not occasionally but 
every day. Deep breathing, when in the open air, 
done every day. 

6. In so far as possible, consistently early hours 
of retirement 

7. Sensible regulation of the day's work. Don't 
practice four hours one day and one-half an hour 
the next If nerves are not helped by pose they are 
helped by poise. Think a little is this the wise 
thing or is it a foolish thing? Your intellect was 
given you to guide you. Don't rush from a hurried 
lunch to a game of lawn tennis or a moving picture 
show. See that intervals of repose come between 
your intervals of energy. Attend to this for a 
few months and you will surely note a difference in 
your nervous condition, 

8. Freedom from worry. Get rid! of the idea or 
the habit of worrying, else all remedies for nerve 



414 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

betterment will fail Musicians, perhaps through 
too much confinement and long sedentary labor, are 
prone to worry about things of very little real con- 
sequence. Here again is the magnification of self. 
Just jot down somewhere the fact that you and all 
of your petty troubles will be out of the way only 
a very few years hence. This is a world of trouble 
or a world of joy pretty much as you choose to look 
at it I do not mean with this to advocate callous- 
ness or indifference to the real issues of life. What 
I mean is that most of our worry is misplaced, As 
for real causes for grief, these will be dealt with 
according to our greater or lesser strength of mind 
and of purpose and to the stoutness and faith of 
our heart. No acfvice can be given here. Shake- 
speare has said it. Everyone can master a grief 
but he that has it, 

9. Method and calm deliberation as to the dis- 
tribution of your work and the disposing of the 
many things that have to be done daily: letter writ- 
ing, telephone calls, visits, etc. If you find your- 
self confronted with a number of things to do, do 
not fret, but just take hold of the very first at hand 
and dispose of it calmly and with care. 

10, Get joy out of your work. 

THE HABIT OP NERVE COXTROL 
I am of the opinion that by practice one can de- 
velop habits of nerve control that are in themselves 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 415 

remedial For years many musicians have retained 
that absurd idea that fighting and fussing and 
blustering was temperament and they have actually 
cultivated it. No wonder they are nervous. Unless 
they first of all cultivate the habit of repose they 
will continue to be nervous for the rest of their 
lives. They seem to develop a kind of artificial 
eagerness to get things done before they can possibly 
be done. If you are in a train, remember that you 
will not get to your destination until the train gets 
there. As a well known German author has said, 
"Don't travel with your train, your auto, or the 
street-car ; let them carry you/' Do not strive men- 
tally or nervously to push the car forward with 
every turn of the wheel This impatience is the 
juggernaut which grinds down more nervous sys- 
tems than almost anything else excepting drugs. 
Sit down at the keyboard with the spirit of im- 
patience in your mind and everything you play will 
be marked by nervous flurry. 

Do you realize that nerves may be disciplined into 
behavior almost as naughty children are disciplined? 
If you set out to do something and forget what it 
was that you wanted to do before you have accom- 
plished it, if you drop or fumble everything you 
take hold of, if you do not seem to be able to "hit 
a right note" when playing, remember the trouble 
is not in your hand's or arms, but in your head, in 
your mental poise. The median, radial, ttlnar and 



416 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

musculospiral nerves control the muscles of fingers, 
hands and arms. But the nucleus of all these nerves 
is situated in the cortex, in the head, whence arc is- 
sued the orders that set these nerves in motion. 
Quiet your mental self, gain command of it, and 
watch the immediate change in the greater quiet 
and certainty of your motions. At one time I was 
exceedingly nervous and this in fact was what set 
me to work studying the condition. I went to a 
noted Berlin specialist and' he enjoined me to hold 
out my hand with the palm downward* Of course 
there was a nervous trembling so characteristic and 
so annoying. "Now," he said, "hold the hand in 
front of the body, the arm not at full length but 
slightly bent, with the fingers not quite stretched 
out straight. Now continue gazing at your fingers 
and soothe by thought until the relaxed hand ceases 
to tremble." The thought indeed seemed to soothe 
the nerves and after a little time spent in gazing the 
condition was much bettered After this he hru! 
me turn the palm downward and repeat the exer- 
cise. The simple turn of the hand resulted in pro- 
ducing the trembling again but with the treatment 
of fixing the eyes and concentrating the attention 
upon the hand I soon found that it became quite 
calm. I practiced this exercise several times each 
day for many weeks with the result that my nerve 
control was so much improved that my hand stop- 
ped shaking and trembling entirely. Since then 



NERVOUSNESS IN PIANO PLAYING 417 

my nerves have become exceedingly strong and 
quite subservient to my will This is a form of 
cure with which very few people are familiar and! 
I consider it extremely valuable. It is especially 
useful for pianists. 

An equally ingenious test of nervousness is to 
procure a small vial like the old fashioned homeo- 
pathic pill bottle and put a little mercury or quick- 
silver in the bottom. Mercury can be secured at 
any good drug store. Clasp the vial with the tips 
of all five fingers and hold it with the top up. If 
you are in a state of poor nerve control the mer- 
cury will dance in the liveliest fashion. If your 
nerves are fairly well under control the mercury 
will l>e calm on the surface. It is extremely unusual 
ever to see the mercury absolutely calm even in the 
cases of people with very steady nerves. 

A VKRY VITAL NEKD 

There is unquestionably a need for more con- 
sideration of the subject of nerves upon the part 
of Amertaon musicians. If I have given any ad- 
vice in the foregoing which may prove advanta- 
geous to my American musical friends, it will give 
me great pleasure to know it, My attention has re- 
cently been called to a quotation from an article by 
Dn Smith Ely Jelltffe, Editor of the Journal of 
Nervous and Mental Diseases which emphasizes my 
point It reads, "Let it be remembered by the older 



4l8 GREAT PIANISTS ON PIANO PLAYING 

generations and taught to the younger, that train- 
ing and economizing of nerve force arc vitally im- 
portant to health and efficiency and that the great 
workers achieve their ends by that very quality of 
nervous energy, which if dissipated degenerates into 
nervousness/' 

QUESTIONS IN STYLE, INTERPRETATION, EXPRES- 
SION AND TECHNIC OF PIANOFORTE PLAYING 

SERIES XXVIII 

ALBERTO JONAS 

1. To what is nervousness generally clue? 

2. In what is the normal cure for nervousness to 
be found? 

3. What is temperament? 

4. How do long-continued 1 periods of practice in- 
jure the student's work? 

5. Are pianists especially liable to nervousness? 

6. Write out ten remedies for nervousness. 

7. State how habits of nerve control may be cul- 
tivated.